Due to the geographical proximity between France and Belgium our trade relations are dense: in effect, North Sea ports constitute a first-class platform for our trade. 2010 figures attest to the density of our relationship: French exports to Belgium grew by 14% in 2010 compared to 13.6% for all French sales. Belgium is our third largest customer and our third largest supplier, while France is Belgium’s second largest customer and third largest supplier.
Despite these good results, our market share (11.2%) has declined continuously for ten years while that of Germany and the Netherlands have stabilized on the rise. Nevertheless, our bilateral relationship has not always been so unbalanced: our trade deficit, in particular, has declined slightly (€6.4 billion in 2010) under the combined effect of a strong recovery in exports and slower import growth.
Nevertheless, our trade imbalance with Belgium represents our third largest bilateral deficit, the first being with China and the second Germany. This deficit is partly explained by the importance of French energy product imports, whose prices are highly sensitive to economic conditions. In fact, trade was balanced in the first half of the 2000s.
Finally, the economic ties between France and Belgium also take the form of investments on both sides of the border. French investments in Belgium amounted to just over €17 million (flows) and about 1,900 French companies are located in Belgium. For its part, Belgium is the fourth largest investor in France in terms of investment stock (€81.3 billion). France is home to over 3,650 Belgian companies, which together employ 203,591 workers
Updated on 03.01.12