Economy overview: It is a modern private enterprise economy, taking advantage of the country’s central geographic location, highly developed transportation network, and diversified industrial and commercial system. Industry is concentrated mainly in the densely populated northern Flemish regions, although the government encourages investment in the southern part of the country, Wallonia. Lacking large natural resources, Belgium is forced to import a significant amount of raw materials and export a large number of industrial products, thus the Belgian economy is especially dependent on the state of the world market. Nearly three-quarters of Belgium’s trade is with other EU countries. It is assumed that the size of the public debt of Belgium in 2002 will be less than the size of GDP, and the government is trying to balance the budget. See businesscarriers.com to know more about Belgium Economics and Business.
GDP: Purchasing Power Parity $259.2 billion (2000 est.)
Real GDP growth rate: 4.1% (2000 est.).
GDP per capita: Purchasing Power Parity $25,300 (2000 est.)
The composition of GDP by sectors of the economy: agriculture: 1.4%; industry: 26%; services: 72.6% (2000 est.).
Proportion of population below the poverty line: 4%.
Percentage distribution of family income or consumption: per 10% of the poorest families: 3.7%; by the top 10% of families: 20.2% (1992).
Inflation rate at consumer prices: 2.2% (2000 est.).
Labor force: 4.34 million people (1999).
Employment structure: services 73%, industry 25%, agriculture 2% (1999 est.).
Unemployment rate: 8.4% (2000 est.).
Budget: revenues: $114.8 billion; expenditures: $117 billion, including capital expenditures—$10.7 billion (1999 est.).
Spheres of economy: mechanical engineering and production of metal products, car assembly, food industry, production of chemicals, metallurgy, production of fabrics, glass, oil and coal mining.
Growth in industrial production: 5.5% (2000 est.).
Electricity generation: 79.829 billion kWh (1999)
Sources of electricity generation: fossil fuels: 40.01%; hydropower: 0.42%; nuclear fuel: 58.33%; others: 1.24% (1999).
Electricity consumption: 75.089 billion kWh (1999).
Electricity export: 8.207 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity import: 9.055 billion kWh (1999)
Agricultural products: sugar beets, fresh vegetables, fruits, cereals, tobacco; beef, veal, pork, milk.
Export: $181.4 billion (free on board, 2000)
Export items: machinery and equipment, chemicals, diamonds, metals and metal products.
Export partners: EU 76% (Germany 18%, France 18%, Netherlands 12%, UK 10%) (1999).
Imports: $166 billion (S.I.F., 2000).
Imports: machinery and equipment, chemicals, metals and hardware.
Import partners: EU 71% (Germany 18%, Netherlands 17%, France 14%, UK 9%) (1999).
External debt: $28.3 billion (1999 est.)
Economic Aid Donor: Official Development Support – $764 million (1997).
Currency: Belgian franc, euro; note: on January 1, 1999, the EU introduced a single currency, which is now used by financial institutions in Belgium at a rate of 40.3399 Belgian francs per euro, and in 2002 will replace the local currency.
Currency code: BEF; EUR.
Exchange rate: EUR/USD – 1.0659 (January 2001), 1.0854 (2000), 0.9386 (1999); BF/USD – 34.77 (January 1999), 36.229 (1998), 35.774 (1997), 30.962 (1996).
Fiscal year: calendar year.
Telecommunications Telephone lines: 4.769 million (1997).
Mobile cellular phones: 974 494 (1997).
Telephone system: highly developed, technologically advanced and fully automated means of domestic and international telephone and telegraph communications; domestic: national cellular communication system; wide cable network; limited microwave radio relay network; international: 5 submarine cables; ground satellite stations – 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) and 1 Eutelsat.
Broadcast stations: FM -79, AM -7, shortwave – 1 (1998).
Radio receivers: 8.075 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 25 (1997).
Televisions: 4.72 million (1997)
Internet country code: be
Internet service providers: 61 (2000).
Number of users: 2.7 million (2000).
Transport Railways: total: 3,437 km (2,446 km electrified; 2,563 km double track); with standard gauge: 3,437 km (1.435 m gauge) (1998).
Roads: total: 145,774 km; paved: 116,482 km (including 1,674 km of expressways); unpaved: 29,592 km (1999)
Waterways: 2,043 km (1,528 km are permanent commercial traffic).
Pipelines: for crude oil: 161 km; for oil products: 1,167 km; for natural gas: 3,300 km.
Ports and harbors: Antwerp (one of the largest cargo turnover in the world), Bruges, Ghent, Zeebrug-ge, Liege, Mons, Namur, Ostend, Hasselt.
Merchant navy: total: 21 vessels (displacement 1,000 tons or more) with a total displacement of 32,912 gross register tons / 53,161 long tons of gross tonnage; different types of ships: cargo ships 6, chemical tankers 9, oil tankers 6 (2000 est.).
Airports: 42 (2000 est.).
Airports with paved runways: total: 24; over 3,047 m: 6; from 2438 to 3047 m: 8; from 1524 to 2437 m:3; from 914 to 1523 m:1; less than 914 m: 6 (2000 est.).
Airports with unpaved runways: total: 18; from 914 to 1523 m:2; less than 914 m: 16 (2000 est.). Helipads: 1 (2000 est.).
Branches of the Armed Forces: Army, Navy, Air Force, National Gendarmerie, Medical Service.
Enlistment age: 19 years old.
Total Military Manpower: Male 15 to 49: 2,517,596 (2001 est.).
Eligible for military service: males aged 15 to 49: 2,079,624 (2001 est.).
Number of persons reaching military age each year: male: 63,247 (2001 est.).
Military spending in dollar terms: $2.5 billion (2001)
Military spending as part of GDP: 1.2% (1999).
International issues International disputes: no.
Illicit drugs: production of synthetic drugs is on the rise; a transit point for the ecstasy drug being shipped to the United States; supplier of chemicals needed by South American cocaine manufacturers; a transit point for cocaine, heroin, hashish and marijuana imported into Western Europe.