Early estimations for last year predict that exports increased (293.9 billion euros, up 8.8%) more than imports (297.6 billion euros, up 7.3%) compared to 2017’s figures.
Products made from plastic contributed most to the increase in trade (+9.7 billion euros), along with the chemical industry (+9.5 billion euros) and the food, drink and tobacco industry (+5.4 billion euros). Belgium is, however, hungry for petroleum products (-18.6 billion euros), electric machines and devices (-6.2 billion euros) and transport material (-3 billion euros).
Belgian products are popular in Germany (chemical industry and transport equipment) and France (chemical industry and mineral products). Belgium relies on the Netherlands and Ireland, for petroleum imported from Rotterdam port and pharmaceutical products respectively.
Early estimations for January 2019 indicate a deficit of 1.3 billion euros for commercial trade. Exports and imports are respectively estimated to reach 23.4 and 24.7 billion euros, a 4.7% reduction for exports and a 0.2% reduction for imports compared to January 2019.