Export ratio

  • Export ratio at 100% of Flemish GDP

    In 2017, exports of goods and services accounted for 100.2% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the Flemish Region. This is the highest rate in the 2009-2017 period.

    The indicator is sensitive to the economic business cycle. In 2009, the export ratio stood at 80% due to the financial-economic crisis. In 2015, the euro and debt crisis led to a slightly lower ratio.

  • Services taking a larger share in exports

    The export ratio for goods is considerably higher (77.4%) than the export ratio for services (22.8%).

    The export ratio for goods fluctuates more year-on-year than the export ratio for services, due to services exports being far less sensitive to the economic cycle than goods exports.

    Goods are mainly exported by industry and trade. With regard to services, trade is an important exporter. There are, however, more branches active as exporters of services than goods.

  • Flemish export ratio high compared to EU average

    Because of its important gateways (ports and seaports), Flanders’ export ratio is higher than that of the other Belgian Regions in 2017. In the Brussels-Capital Region, the export ratio was 61.5% of the GDP. In the Walloon Region it was 53.7%.

    The Flemish export ratio is also high by European standards. The EU27 export ratio stood at 49% in 2017. Only Luxembourg, Malta and Ireland performed better than Flanders. There are two reasons for the Flemish Region's relatively high score. Firstly, the Flemish economy is strongly focused on foreign markets, because of its central location surrounded by larger, prosperous economies in Western Europe. Secondly, the region's export ratio is high because Flanders is a small geographical area in which commercial transactions covering some distance are more likely to involve a foreign country. Due to their size, larger countries are more likely to engage in transactions within their borders.


Instituut voor de Nationale Rekeningen: Distribution of Belgian imports and exports 
European Commission macroeconomic database: Ameco 


Export ratio: total exports of goods and services as % of gross domestic product (GDP). A distinction can be drawn between goods and services. 
Gross domestic product (GDP): the market value of final goods and services produced in a country or region over a period of one year. 

Publication date

16 December 2020

Next update

July 2021

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