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Last updated : Nov 2009
Belgium Business
Belgium Business Overview - TravelPuppy.com
Economy

The economies of Belgium and Luxembourg have been unified since 1921, when the governments signed a Convention of Economic Union, this is distinct from the Benelux Union, which includes The Netherlands and the EU Belgium being a founder member of both.

The country’s traditional industries of steel, motor vehicles and textiles suffered from the recession in the 1980s. While important, these no longer play the central economic role of the past, Coal mining ceased when the last mine was closed during 1992. Nuclear power accounts for almost two-thirds of Belgium’s energy consumption, the remainder is generated from imported fuel products. Manufactured goods and machinery are the largest export areas, with the major markets inside the EU – including France, Germany, The Netherlands and the UK. Belgium relies particularly heavily on export earnings – 70 per cent of GDP is exported.

Successive Belgian governments have been keen proponents of the process of European integration, including the introduction of a single European currency, which Belgium adopted upon its inception during 1999. The Verhofstadt government has managed to reduce Belgium’s high unemployment level to around 7 per cent, while keeping inflation below 2 per cent.

Business Etiquette

Suits should always be worn and business is conducted on quite a formal basis, with punctuality valued and business cards exchanged. Transactions are usually made in French or English.

Business Office hours: Monday-Friday 0830-1730 hrs.

Commercial Information

The following organisations can offer advice:

Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Bruxelles
500 avenue Louise,
1050 Brussels
Telephone number: (2) 648 5002, fax number: (2) 640 9328, e-mail: info.ccib@ccib.irisnet.be, website: www.ccib.irisnet.be

Kamer van Koophandel Antwerpen-Waasland (Chamber of Commerce and Industry Anterpen-Waasland),
Markgravestraat 12,
2000 Antwerp
Telephone number: (3) 232 2219, fax number: (3) 233 6442, e-mail: info@kvkaw.voka.be, website: www.kkna.be

Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce
Riverside House,
27-29 Vauxhall Grove,
London
SW8 1SY,
UK
Telephone number: (020) 7820 7839, fax number: (020) 7793 1628, e-mail: info@blcc.co.uk, website: www.blcc.co.uk

Belgian Foreign Trade,
30 Boulevard du Roi Albert II,
Boîte 36,
1000 Brussels
Telephone number: (2) 206 3511, fax number:(2) 203 1812.

The Flanders Foreign Investment Office (FFIO) is an agency of the Flemish government and promotes Flanders as an investment location for foreign businesses. For further information contact FFIO, Regentlaan 40, B-1000 Brussels (telephone number: (2) 227 5311, fax number: (2) 227 5310; e-mail: flanders@ffio.be, website: www.ffio.com).

Conferences/Conventions

There is an extensive range of meeting venues throughout Belgium. In 1994, Belgium was the seventh most popular conference destination, and Brussels was the third most popular city.

For more information or assistance in organising a conference or convention in Belgium contact:

Flanders-Brussels Convention Bureau
Grasmarkt 61,
1000 Brussels
(telephone number: (2) 504 0355, fax number: (2) 504 0480, e-mail: congres@meetingpoint.be, website: www.meetingpoint.be)

Brussels International (Brussels Convention Bureau),
Rue de la Violette,
18 1000 Brussels
(telephone number: (2) 549 5050 or 5052, fax number: (2) 549 5059, e-mail: mice@brusselsinternational.be, website: www.brusselsinternational.be).