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U.S. Department of State 
Belgium Country Commercial Guide 
Office of the Coordinator for Business Affairs 
                            COUNTRY COMMERCIAL GUIDE 
                                 FOR BELGIUM 
                                   FY 1996 
                                    TABLE OF CONTENTS: 
     -Macroeconomic trends and outlook 
     -Principal growth sectors 
     -Budgetary priorities 
     -Monetary policy 
     -U.S./Belgian relations 
     -Entering the market 
     -Distribution and sales channels 
     -Use of agents and distributors 
     -Watching for pitfalls 
     -Pricing and selling factors 
     -Getting help 
     -Using a regional approach 
     -Distribution and coordination centers 
     -Setting up an office 
     -Protecting your product from IPR infringement 
     -Need for local attorneys 
     -Advertising and trade promotion 
     A. Industrial and service sectors 
     B. Agricultural sectors 
     C. Other possibilities 
     A. Introduction 
        -Effects of the single market 
        -Customs valuation 
        -Import/export licenses and quotas 
        -Value added tax 
        -Bonded warehouses 
     B. Documentation required for U.S. exports to Belgium 
        -Shipping documents 
        -Commercial Invoice 
        -Bills of lading 
        -Packing list 
        -Certificate of origin 
        -Insurance certificate 
        -Steamship company certificate 
        -U.S. shippers export declaration 
        -Consular fees 
        -Export controls 
     C. Packaging and labeling in Belgium  
        -What language to use 
        -Marking and other requirements 
        -Belgium's ecotaxes 
        -European Union requirements 
        -Recycling, packaging, and waste management 
        -Electronic waste 
        -The CE mark in the European Union 
        -Contact information 
     D. Standards in Belgium and the EU 
        -The importance of ISO 9000 in selling to Europe 
        -Product and technical standards 
     E. Trade barriers 
        -Government procurement 
        -Regional environmental differences 
     1.  Openness to foreign investment 
     2.  Investment barriers 
         -investment climate 
         -impact of regionalization 
         -closed retail sector 
     3.  Conversion and Transfer policies 
     4.  Expropriation/compensation/and dispute settlement 
     5.  Investment incentives and performance requirements 
     6.  Right to private property 
     7.  Protection of property rights 
     8.  Regulatory system: laws and procedures 
     9.  Efficient capital markets and portfolio investment 
     10. Political Violence 
     11. Bilateral investment agreements 
     12. OPIC and other insurance programs 
     13. Labor laws and climate 
     14. Foreign trade zones/free ports 
     15. Capital outflow policy 
     16. Foreign direct investment statistics 
     -Overview of the banking and financial system 
     -Hints on financing exports 
     -Key banks in Belgium 
     -Business customs and infrastructure 
     -List of Belgian holidays - 1996 
      C.  TRADE 
Belgium is the ninth largest trading nation in the world.  It is highly 
outward looking due to its long history of reliance on international 
trade.  Because of this history and the lack of natural resources, 
Belgian business both imports and exports.  Imports and exports are 
equivalent to nearly 70 percent of GDP, making Belgium one of the 
highest per capita exporters in the world.  Belgium imports many basic 
or intermediate goods, adds value, and then exports final products.  
Belgium's major exports to the world are cars, electrical equipment, cut 
diamonds, iron, plastic, organic chemical products and refined 
petroleum.  The country's main exports to the U.S. include diamonds, 
chemicals, refined petroleum products, bicycles, textiles, steel, and 
steel products.  Major imports from the U.S. include petroleum products, 
transportation equipment, diamonds, computers and related equipment and 
services, as well as soybeans.  Main imports from the rest of the world 
are organic chemical products, plastic, steel, rough diamonds, assembled 
cars and electrical equipment.  About 75% of Belgium's foreign trade is 
with other EU countries, pointing up the country's importance as a 
commercial axis in Western Europe.  Lying in the heart of Europe and 
being a faithful adherent to EU integration policies, Belgium stands to 
benefit greatly from the developing single market. 
Belgium and the United States have strong reciprocal trade relations.  
Belgium is the twelfth largest market in the world for U.S. products and 
took $10.9 billion in American exports in 1994, providing us with our 
third largest trade surplus.  The Belgian market has great depth and 
diversity in its import mix, with many excellent growth sectors.  
Belgium has an excellent network of distributors, who are often regarded 
by the French and Germans as a neutral source of goods.  Belgium is 
blessed with an excellent transportation network of ports, railroads, 
and highways.  Major U.S. air cargo carriers have created one of the 
first and perhaps only European hub and spoke operation.  Due to its 
history and location, Belgium is a true cultural microcosm of Europe, 
with three linguistic communities: French, Dutch and German.  This 
diversity, combined with its small, manageable size, makes Belgium an 
excellent test market and subsequent launching pad for European 
operations of U.S. businesses.  Because the Belgian market is highly 
competitive, the Belgian consumer has become used to the introduction of 
new products and is quite discerning in his/her choice. 
Belgium maintains an excellent investment climate for U.S. companies.  
U.S. investment in Belgium - $11.6 billion IN 1993 - ranks 13th in the 
world.  The United States is the largest foreign investor in Belgium, 
which is home to over 1,200 American companies.  Since the end of World 
War II, American businesses have played an active and important part in 
the Belgian economy.  Foreign companies are treated exactly the same as 
Belgian businesses.  There are no restrictions on repatriation of 
capital and profits and no requirement that a Belgian national own part 
of the firm's equity.  In a 1992 study performed by the KUL, a major 
Belgian university, 3,100 top industry and service companies in Belgium 
were examined.  These companies represent 88% of the added value in the 
country; one third of them are owned by foreigners.  The foreign 
companies are mainly from the United States (25%), the Netherlands 
(17%), France (16%), Germany, and Great Britain (both 12%).  A 1992 
study by Ernst and Young concluded that Belgium will be the second most 
popular site in Europe for investment over the next five years.  The 
study also showed that Belgium ranked fourth out of twenty two countries 
as a host to European subsidiaries or headquarters of the 100 
multinationals surveyed. 
The rapid expansion of Brussels as the corporate decision center of 
Europe and as a place for meetings and congresses has attracted over 
1,300 European headquarters of foreign companies and institutions to 
Brussels - 597 of them American, followed by France, Great Britain, 
Germany, Japan, Sweden, and Italy.  The Belgian government has adopted a 
number of corporate tax incentives in order to make Belgium an 
attractive country for foreign investors.  The tax authorities have 
established special corporate tax rules for foreign companies intending 
to establish coordination centers, distribution centers, or foreign 
sales corporations in Belgium.  The success of these measures is 
indicated by the fact that to date, 250 (of which 83 are of American 
origin) multinational companies have adopted the status of coordination 
center.  Brussels and other locations in Belgium are regarded in a 
number of recent surveys as among the top ten locations for a U.S. 
business in Europe.  The quality of Belgium's R and D facilities is one 
of the reasons most cited for this high ranking. 
Overall, government leaders at all levels are very supportive of open 
trade and investment.  That does not, however, always translate into a 
commercial environment easy for U.S. companies to understand or operate 
in, and American companies do sometimes encounter trade or investment 
problems.  Those problems often result from the Belgian penchant to 
compromise and avoid confrontation.  They also sometimes result from the 
unclear division of responsibilities among local, regional, and federal 
authorities.  This lack of clear responsibility can lead to bureaucratic 
delays and inaction.  It can also lead to inconsistent legislation and 
Despite such barriers, there are excellent opportunities in Belgium for 
U.S. exports and investment.  They include: 
--trade with Belgium in many industrial and service sectors; 
--trade with Belgium in a number of agricultural sectors; 
--partial privatization of Belgacom (the state telecommunications 
company) worth $ 900+ million; 
--location of a European-wide distribution center in Belgium; 
--location of a European-wide coordination center in Belgium; and 
--development of a strategic alliance with a Belgian firm in one of the 
following sectors: communications, biotechnology, the environment, 
energy, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals;  such a venture could be 
targeted at Western Europe, Eastern Europe, or the Middle East.  
The Country Commercial Guide (CCG) on Belgium contains detailed 
information on exporting to Belgium or locating a business in Belgium.  
CCGs are available on the National Trade Data Bank on CD rom or through 
the Internet.  Please contact STAT-USA at 1-800-STAT-USA for more 
information.  To locate CCGs via the Internet, please use the following 
worldwide web address: WWW.STAT-USA.GOV.  CCGs can also be ordered in 
hard copy or on diskette from the National Technical Information Service 
(NTIS) at 1-800-553-NTIS. 
In 1994, the Belgian economy recovered particularly well from the very 
poor economic results posted in 1993, when real GDP declined 1.7 percent 
(the worst figure since World War II).  Despite a slowdown beginning in 
the second quarter, real GDP growth should be around 2.3 percent in 
1995, almost identical to the 1994 figure.  Inflation remains firmly in 
check at 2.4 percent in 1994 and under 2 percent in the first four 
months of 1995.  If the profile of the current business cycle were to 
fit that of the previous one, Belgium should have some more years of 
economic expansion ahead.  But one should not forget that the previous 
cycle included the German reunification process, with its initial sharp 
increases of Belgian exports to Germany and the subsequent deflationary 
impact of high German interest rates. 
As a consequence, there still remains a large degree of uncertainty 
about the strength and sustainability of Belgium's economic recovery.  
The fact that Belgian industry has been specialized for a number of 
years in the production of semi-manufactured goods for which demand is 
particularly strong during the take-off phase of the business cycle 
favored Belgium over the past year.  Exports of goods and services grew 
by 6 percent in 1994.  As the economic cycle matures in Europe and the 
Belgian franc's (BF) strength affects exports, this stimulus will 
gradually disappear.  Exports of goods and services may remain strong, 
but will no longer give the economy the lift they have so far. 
Domestic consumption was expected to substitute for net exports as the 
driving force in the expansion, but unlike in neighboring countries, 
this has not yet happened in Belgium.  In contrast to most forecasts, 
the Belgian savings rate of 20 percent has remained steady, leading to 
weak household consumption.  Private sector investment declined for the 
third consecutive year in 1994.  The near-inflationary level of capacity 
utilization (more than 80 percent) in industry, however, suggests that 
investment will pick up shortly.   
The current account surplus of the Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union 
(BLEU) increased to 5.1 percent of GDP (BF 410 billion) in 1994, the 
third largest surplus of all OECD members (after Japan and the 
Netherlands).  Attractive as this may seem, at least one-third of this 
surplus should be attributed to the Luxembourg financial center.  
Furthermore, a net creditor position towards the outside world is what 
one would expect from a mature developed country with an aging 
population.  The large size of the foreign asset position can also be 
attributed to weak investment spending, which may reflect the lack of 
profitable domestic projects. 
BLEU imports and exports, which declined sharply both in prices and in 
volumes in 1993, picked up strongly in 1994.  Exports grew from BF 3,777 
billion ($130.2 billion) to BF 4,035 billion ($139.1 billion).  Imports 
went from BF 3,572 billion ($123.2 million) to BF 3,830 billion ($132.1 
billion).  Since prices increased only slightly in 1994, most of this 
increase can be attributed to increased volumes.  Belgium's exports 
profited from increased exports to Japan, as well as the continuing 
strength of Southeast Asian markets, where BLEU exports tripled between 
1987 and 1994.  However, more than 80 percent of Belgium's exports still 
go to the other EU member states (mainly Germany, France and the 
Netherlands).  The equivalent of 70 percent of the country's GDP is 
exported, compared to only 20 percent in neighboring France.  This makes 
Belgium very vulnerable to the international economic climate.  In fact, 
it is doubtful whether important export sectors such as textiles, metal 
construction and wood will be able to maintain their 1994 export levels, 
since they reportedly suffer from the strong performance of the BF 
against the U.S. dollar and the weaker European currencies.  The 
National Bank of Belgium has calculated that the growth in export 
volumes is smaller than the global export growth as calculated by the 
OECD, implying that Belgian exports are losing market shares. 
The Belgian labor market showed little improvement, despite the renewed 
strength of the economy.  In 1994, some 27,000 jobs were lost (net) in 
the Belgian economy, compared to a loss of 53,000 the year before.  
Standardized EU data puts Belgian unemployment at 10.2 percent in 1994, 
compared to 11.2 percent for the EU average.  The beginning of 1995 saw 
the first decline in unemployment figures since 1992.  At the end of 
March, the number of unemployed dropped 30,000 below the March 1994 
figure.  Most economists believe that the Belgian economy needs real 
growth of at least 2.5 percent before job growth can reduce the 
unemployment rate, and Belgium is currently precariously balancing 
around that figure.  The long term trend remains that efforts by 
business to neutralize the high labor costs have pushed up productivity, 
but aggravated the unemployment problem by reducing the labor intensity 
of economic growth. 
The growth in the various sectors of the Belgian economy partly reflects 
the development of the macroeconomic situation in general.  The industry 
sectors which are most oriented towards foreign markets gained during 
the upswing in the economic cycle, in particular those in the semi-
finished goods sectors such as iron and steel, non-ferrous metals and 
chemicals.  The sectors oriented towards the production of investment 
goods still suffered from the lukewarm investment picture in Belgium in 
1993 (minus 7.4 percent) and 1994 (minus 2.8 percent).  Weak demand in 
the consumer product sector, coupled to the depreciation of some EU 
currencies against the BF, continues to hamper the textiles, wood and 
food sectors.  Apart from these developments specific to the business 
cycle, there were also divergent developments impacting on some sectors: 
the paper and cardboard sector in particular have been hit by the 
ongoing switch towards the use of less packaging. 
The services sector is still structurally dependent on the industrial 
sector in Belgium, but it has posted significantly higher growth rates 
than the latter over the past ten years.  In 1994, the overall turnover 
growth in the services sector was 7 percent, and sectors such as 
accounting, fiscal expertise, publicity and maintenance are doing 
particularly well.  On the other hand, sectors largely dependent on 
household consumption such as retail, health care and the catering 
industry still suffer from the sluggishness of consumption demand. 
The main objective of the Belgian government has been to attain a budget 
deficit of 3 percent of GDP by the end of 1996, one of the three 
conditions for membership in the first-tier group of the EMU, as 
prescribed in the Maastricht treaty.  Historically, Belgium has done 
relatively better on its budget in times of cyclical downswings.  The 
total budget deficit at the end of 1994 (federal, regional plus social 
security) amounted to 5.3 percent of GDP.  For the first time since the 
late seventies, Belgium thus came slightly below the EU average.  For 
1995, the government has already announced measures equivalent to 0.8 
percent of GDP (despite 1995 being an election year).  The new 
government, elected in May of 1995, faces the challenge of a 1996 draft 
budget with a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases equivalent to 
1.5 percent of GDP (BF 105 billion or $3.62 billion).  The High Council 
for Finance, an official budgetary think tank, has calculated that BF 45 
billion ought to come from the federal budget, another BF 40 billion 
from social security and BF 20 billion from Belgium's regions and 
Since revenue enhancing measures are more certain in their effect than 
expenditure cuts, the next government is expected to focus on increasing 
indirect taxes, introducing an energy tax and means testing family 
allowances.  If the previous coalition is any measure, the most likely 
mix will be three-quarters of extra revenues and one quarter of 
expenditure cuts.  The likely future coalition partners seem to be well 
aware of the deflationary risks of such policies, but they have very few 
alternatives: between 1992 and 1995, the Dehaene government already took 
budgetary measures worth BF 500 billion ($17.2 billion), almost the 
equivalent of 7 percent of GDP.  Belgium cannot possibly bring its 
accumulated debt down from the present level of 128 percent of GDP to 
the Maastricht target of 60 percent.  In order to meet the "substantial 
progress" criteria for its debt, Belgium will need a net primary surplus 
(i.e. net of interest payments on the debt) of some 6 percent of GDP 
until the end of the decade for it to become a first-tier EMU member. 
Since June 1990, Belgium has bound its monetary policy to Germany's by 
anchoring the BF to the Deutschmark (DM).  By thus tying their hands, 
monetary authorities send out a clear signal that inflationary pressures 
will not be accommodated.  This is particularly important for a small 
open economy with a high public debt.  The recent experience in other 
European countries shows that apparent autonomy in monetary policy can 
only be achieved at the cost of foreign exchange instability (and the 
risk of imported inflation). 
The difficulties experienced by the BF during the 1993 period of turmoil 
in the European Monetary System (EMS) proved to be of a temporary nature 
and did not lead to a change in policy.  Belgium has not needed to test 
the plus/minus 15 percent fluctuation margins available in the EMS's 
Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) since August 1993.  The BF has stayed 
within a narrow margin of 0.3 percent around its parity with the DM, 
despite gradual short-term interest rate cuts.  Most of the time, the BF 
has been quoted slightly above its ERM parity, undoubtedly helped by the 
continued and growing current account surplus. 
Such a policy implies a close shadowing of the German interest rates, 
both long and short.  It is noteworthy that as soon as the interest rate 
differential between DM and BF drops under half a percentage point, 
dealers start selling Belgian bonds.  This differential is probably the 
price to pay for a net cumulative debt of 128 percent of GDP. 
Recently, industries facing strong competition from firms in countries 
whose currencies have depreciated, such as textiles, clothing, wood and 
mechanical construction, have complained bitterly about the effect of 
the "competitive" nature of recent currency depreciation.  National Bank 
Governor Verplaetse countered that Belgium cannot afford to allow the BF 
to depreciate.  Higher interest rates would have a serious impact on the 
budget and Belgium's wage indexation system would quickly transmit any 
imported inflation into the labor market.  Furthermore, 60 percent of 
Belgian exports go to EU member states whose currencies are linked, like 
the BF, to the DM and a strong BF means lower import prices and hence 
lower inflation. 
In 1994, the Belgian government took in BF 55 billion ($1.9 billion) in 
privatization receipts:  BF 15.1 billion from the sale of the National 
Investment Company (NIM/SNI), BF 15 billion from monopoly rights of the 
National Lottery and BF 25 billion as an advance on the future 
privatization of part of Belgacom, the public telephone operator.  In 
May 1995, the government announced the partial privatization of Sabena, 
the national carrier, through a joint-venture with Swissair.  Since the 
deal with Swissair requires the Belgian government to invest at least BF 
4 billion to Sabena's recapitalization, there are no privatization 
proceeds to be reaped. 
For 1995, several privatization projects are still in the pipeline, but 
the next government will decide their fate.  First, there is the sale of 
the public sector bank NMKN-SNCI, expected to bring in BF 4 billion.  At 
the moment, only private Belgian banks seem to be interested.  Second, 
there is the sale of the small public sector bank CBHK jointly to 
Belgium's private banks, which would use the bank as a vehicle to 
securitize their mortgages with a government guarantee.  Third, there is 
also the sale of the Belgian embassy grounds in Tokyo, estimated at BF 
12 billion.  And last but not least, Belgacom, the government-owned 
telecommunications company, still needs to find an important 
international partner, as the Belgian government has merely taken a cash 
advance on the sale of between 25 and 49 percent of its assets.  
Meanwhile, the government has concentrated the remainder of its asset 
portfolio (currently valued at some BF 500 billion) in the ASLK-CGER 
Belgium has been a constitutional monarchy since 1930.  Albert II was 
invested as King in August, 1993, after the death of his brother 
Baudouin.  The King, Prime Minister and Cabinet represent the executive 
branch of the federal government, with the newly-formed 71-member Senate 
and 150-member Chamber of Deputies representing the legislative branch.   
The Cabinet must retain the support of a majority in the Chamber of 
Deputies to remain in power.  Federal parliamentary elections are held 
every four years or before that if the government loses the support of a 
majority in the Chamber and no alternative coalition can be formed.  
There is universal suffrage, with compulsory voting and proportional 
representation.  Governments are always coalitions comprising two or 
three of the traditional parties - the Christian Democrats (center), the 
Socialists (left wing) and Liberals (right wing).  Elections were last 
held in May 1995, with no party gaining an absolute majority of votes in 
either of Belgium's two linguistic regions. 
The government formed in June 1995 is a coalition of Christian Democrats 
and Socialists, led once again by Prime Minister Jean Luc Dehaene.  The 
central plank of its platform is reform of the social welfare system in 
order to stimulate job creation and to help Belgium meet Maastricht 
budget norms to be one of the first tranche of countries which joins the 
European Monetary Union.  Along with espousing early entry into EMU, the 
platform also proposed an active role by Belgium during the 1996 EU 
Intergovernmental Conference, with emphasis on deepening European 
The most significant, long-term factor in Belgian politics is the 
gradual devolution of powers from the central authority to the regions.  
In the new federal structure, approved in July 1993, sovereignty is 
spread over three authorities:  the central state, the regions and the 
language communities.  There is no hierarchy between these policy 
levels.  Each of the three levels has its own exclusive powers and is 
not allowed to interfere in matters that are under the jurisdiction of 
the others. 
The regions are Flanders (northern, Dutch-speaking part of Belgium), 
Wallonia (souther, French-speaking area), and Brussels (the capital 
regions, limited to 19 bilingual communes).  Each region is responsible 
for a wide range of socio-economic matters for its own territory.  
Elected regional assemblies for Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels exercise 
legislative powers within their own regions and elect executive 
authorities.  Under the evolving federal system, the responsibility for 
areas of interest to U.S. business - such as foreign trade, environment 
and investment regimes and incentives - will increasingly become the 
responsibility for the regional governments.  This devolution means that 
Americans wishing to do business in Belgium will eventually have more 
contact with regional officials than in the past. 
U.S.-Belgian bilateral relations are excellent.  Active in international 
diplomacy in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Belgium is a close ally 
and works with the United States on many international issues.  
Successive Belgian governments have been committed to the development of 
a strong, federal European Union with the ability to set common foreign 
and security policies as well as common economic policies.  These 
governments have also been proponents of strong transatlantic ties 
within NATO.  The current Dehaene government has repeated its desire for 
close ties with the United States on security issues and has expressed 
support for enlarging NATO to accommodate certain former Warsaw Pact 
Belgium is home to the European Union, NATO, WEU and over 100 other 
international organizations.  Belgium is a substantial aid donor, making 
bilateral and multilateral contributions to humanitarian aid and 
development programs.  In addition, Belgium is a provider of 
peacekeeping troops and has participated in various peacekeeping 
operations in Somalia, Rwanda and former Yugoslavia.  As a member of the 
IMF Executive Board, the G-10, NATO, the UN, EU, WEU and EUROCORPS, 
Belgium wields significant weight in world affairs. 
Several thousand U.S. companies are selling on the Belgian market 
through distributors and agents.  The new-to-market U.S. company will 
find a large number of well-established representatives in virtually 
every industry sector in Belgium.  On many occasions, their territory is 
larger than just Belgium; often it is the Benelux and one or more 
neighboring European countries.  Belgian agents and distributors are 
often perceived as being neutral sellers by European purchasers.  This 
places them at a distinct advantage vis-a-vis their German or French 
counterparts.  U.S. companies will also find that Belgium is an 
excellent place in which to locate distribution facilities.  It has an 
outstanding network of ports, airports, rail, highways, and canals that 
can provide cost effective transportation to 300 million consumers in 
less than 48 hours.  Joint venture and franchising agreements are often 
also a good way of entering the market. 
Belgium is a faithful adherent to EU laws and directives, and Belgian 
business stands to benefit significantly from a single European market 
in the 1990s.  The openness of the Belgian market should not, however, 
make American companies think that doing business in Belgium is like 
doing business next door in the United States.  It is not.  U.S. 
companies need to be aware of cultural and linguistic differences.  
There are also regional economic differences, with some parts of the 
country wealthier than other parts.  In addition, Belgian distributors 
tend to be small and specialized.  They also do not have ready access to 
inexpensive capital, and they are somewhat conservative when it comes to 
risk taking.  Consequently, potential Belgian representatives will look 
to their suppliers for lenient credit terms.  Liberal credit terms thus 
become a supplier asset though caution should always be exercised before 
extending such credit (See Section VIII).  Belgium has also established 
legal protection for distributors against sudden or unjustifiable 
termination of the distribution agreement.  It includes measures 
assuring the right to receive reasonable notice of termination, and 
compensation for loss of income.  In addition, the EU has passed similar 
legislation protecting agents.  American companies need legal advice in 
drawing up a representation agreement in Belgium and throughout the EU.  
Lastly, the Belgian importer is looking for the best quality at the best 
price.  He highly regards American products and technology, but Belgium 
is a highly competitive market.  There are many competitors in the 
marketplace, and a U.S. supplier will have to be aggressive and have a 
sharp pencil to compete successfully.  Markups in Europe tend to be much 
larger than in the United States.  A useful rule of thumb for consumer 
goods is to multiply your U.S. x-factory price by approximately four 
times in order to arrive at the likely retail price in Europe.  
There are numerous individuals, professional organizations and service 
companies, financial organizations and consultants in all disciplines, 
prepared to advise and assist parties considering doing business in 
Belgium.  The American Chamber of Commerce in Belgium is a particularly 
active one, with 1,000 paid-up members and several strong and very 
effective action committees.  Its free services include an "Investment 
Referral Service" to help new American companies locate operations in 
Belgium and a "Euro-Info Hotline" designed to assist American exporters 
with questions related to trading with countries of the European Union. 
The Benelux countries, including Luxembourg, already import $23 billion 
a year from the United States - more than Germany, France, or any other 
market in Europe except for the United Kingdom.  The Benelux countries 
provide the United States with its first and third largest trade surplus 
in the world.  Together, the Benelux countries have over 2,100 resident 
American companies, many of which are excellent intermediary markets for 
U.S. goods and services.  Benelux multinationals are well known 
throughout the world, with per capita exports in the benelux near the 
top in the world.  Finally, the Benelux countries boast outstanding 
locations for distribution of american products in europe and offer 
considerable incentives for locating European-wide distribution centers. 
In order to capitalize on the larger regional Benelux market, the 
Commercial Service offices of the U.S. embassies in Brussels and The 
Hague are offering a number of joint services as part of a Euroaccess 
package.  The joint services include the Benelux gold key, rep find, 
single company promotion, foreign buyer program, and customized market 
research package, as well as a joint newsletter which reaches over 8,000 
Benelux importers of American products.  The Euroaccess package also 
offers double trade events, in such sectors as the environment, 
telecommunication, travel, transportation, industrial cleaning, medical, 
and hotel and restaurant lines, as well as joint information on 
distribution into Europe from the Benelux.  A business traveler can save 
money by taking the Euroaccess package, combining a visit to these 
exciting markets.  In short, the Euroaccess package of services is 
designed to make certain that the American exporter is successful in 
marketing to Europe on the first try. 
Although Belgium is a relatively small country of ten million 
inhabitants, it is an excellent test market for launching new products 
in Europe.  Belgian characteristics are very close to European averages 
regarding private and public expenditure, GDP per capita, age 
distribution, and activity of its population.  Consequently, American 
franchisors are exploring the market in ever greater depth.  For 
example, the Belgian franchising market for fast food is growing at an 
annual real growth rate of twelve percent. 
There are no particular restrictions on opening franchise operations in 
Belgium.  The European Union's Directive 4087/88 of November 30, 1988, 
provides the legal framework for the franchising business in the EU.  
Additionally, the European Franchise Federation has developed a European 
code of ethics for its members.  It outlines a series of provisions of 
fair behavior, but does not have the effect of law.  Its provisions 
include arbitration in case of disputes. 
In March 1992, the Belgian Franchising Federation was established.  The 
Federation is open to both domestic and foreign franchisors operating in 
the country.  It can provide prospective franchisors with considerable 
information on the franchise market in Belgium. 
Belgium has developed some very attractive legislation permitting 
American companies to set up either distribution or coordination centers 
in Belgium.  Distribution centers can engage in the purchase of raw 
materials for members of the company group, the storage, management, and 
packaging of raw materials, the sale to members of the group of these 
materials along with their transport and delivery, and certain 
operations related to the handling of goods purchased for resale or 
finished goods.  Recent changes in Belgian legislation now allow even 
more activities to be carried out in distribution centers, all taxed at 
a favorable cost plus rate.  A coordination center, by contrast, is 
designed to permit a multinational group to perform certain service and 
financial activities on behalf of its member companies.  In both 
distribution and coordination centers, multinationals can derive 
significant tax and other benefits from operating in Belgium.  For more 
information on coordination centers, a U.S. company should contact the 
American Embassy in Brussels or contact the following: 
Ministry of Economic Affairs 
Service for Foreign Investors 
Square de Meeus 23 
1040 Brussels 
Contact: Mr. J. De Buck 
Tel: 32/2/506.54.11 
Fax: 32/2/514.03.89 
Belgian Ministry of Economic Affairs 
Coordination of International Investment Policy Service 
Square de Meeus 23 
1040 Brussels 
Contact: Mrs. Francine De Punt 
Tel: 32/2/506.52.66 
Fax: 32/2/513.74.75 
Forum 187 
Federation of Coordination Centers 
rue Brederode 13/11 
1000 Brussels 
Contact: Mr. Jean Yves Dopchie 
Tel: 32/2/513.39.92 
Fax: 32/2/513.64.53 
For more information on distribution centers, a U.S. company should 
contact the American Embassy in Brussels or contact the following: 
Ministry of Economic Affairs 
Service for Foreign Investors 
Square de Meeus 23 
1040 Brussels 
Contact: Mr. J. De Buck 
Tel: 32/2/506.54.11 
Fax: 32/2/514.03.89 
Ministry of Finance 
Administration of Direct Taxes 
Rijksadministratief Centrum Bus 32 
Kruidtuinlaan 50 
1010 Brussels 
Contact: Mr. Patrick Jacobs 
Tel: 32/2/210.23.42 
Fax: 32/2/210.41.18 
The American Chamber, in conjunction with the U.S. Embassy, operates an 
outstanding service called the Investment Referral Service.  Drawing 
upon experts from the financial, accounting, real estate, legal, and 
business world, the IRS can be used by American companies considering 
opening an operation in Belgium.  Upon request, the IRS members will 
answer questions regarding a variety of issues either in person or via 
letter/fax.  U.S. companies considering an investment in Belgium, 
including opening a sales office or distribution center, should contact 
the American Chamber, Sheila Chabeau, (Tel: 32/3/513-6770 or Fax: 
32/2/513-7928) to request use of the IRS.  In addition, the Chamber 
publishes a booklet, entitled "Doing Business in Belgium", which 
provides guidance on a host of issues related to setting up an operation 
in Belgium.  
The rights granted under U.S. patent, trademark or copyright law can be 
enforced in the United States, its territories and possessions only.  
The EU, for its part, has taken a number of initiatives to provide 
intellectual property protection, but not all measures haven been 
implemented.  In cases of non-implementation, national laws still 
Belgium is also a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization 
(WIPO) and the European Patent Convention (EPC).  A single European 
patent, valid throughout the EU, does not yet exist, since the community 
patent convention has only been ratified by Germany and Greece.  In the 
meantime, the patent applicant can choose between a national and a 
multiple-country patent.  In the latter case, a single application to 
the European Patent Office in Munich (European Patent Office, 
Erhardstrasse 27, D-80331 Muenchen, Germany, Tel:  49-89-23990, Fax:  
49-89-23992850) is required for obtaining patents valid in a number of 
countries within the EU, and Austria, Liechtenstein, Sweden, Monaco, and 
Switzerland.  A patent thus granted will not be valid in Belgium unless 
a copy of the grant in one of Belgium's three national languages is 
filed with the Belgian Office of Industrial Property described below.  
To obtain a national patent in Belgium, the inventor or his/her assignee 
must file a request with the Office of Industrial Property in the 
Ministry of Economic Affairs.  After a search of the European Patent 
Office in Munich, if requested by the inventor, the Belgian government 
will issue the patent without guarantee of patentability.  National 
patents are valid for twenty years if a search has occurred.  If not, 
the validity is reduced to six years.  Once granted, the patent is 
registered with the Register of Patents, again located in the Ministry 
of Economic Affairs.   
An EU Trademark Office has now been established in Alicante, Spain and 
the first EU trademark registrations are expected in mid-1995.  
Trademark registration can be handled through this office: 
     EU Trademark Office 
     Mr. Jean-Claude Combaldieu 
     Av. Aguilera 20 
     03080 Alicante 
     Tel: 346-513-9100;  Fax: 346-513-9159 
Trademarks in Belgium have been regulated by the Uniform Benelux Law of 
1962, which offers protection in Belgium, the Netherlands and 
Luxembourg.  An application for trademark can be filed with the Belgian 
National Office in the Ministry of Economic Affairs or with the Benelux 
Trade Mark Bureau located in The Netherlands (Bankastraat 51, The 
Hague).  A search is required to ascertain the existence of a similar or 
identical trademark for the same category of product.  If granted, 
protection lasts for ten years from the date of application and can be 
renewed for further periods of ten years each.  Trademarks must be used 
within three years of registration or within any uninterrupted period of 
five years.   
Belgium is a member of the Berne Convention and the Universal Copyright 
Convention of Geneva.  As a member of the UCC, to which the U.S. and 50 
other countries belong, Belgium accords authors automatic copyright 
protection throughout all UCC countries when registered with this 
organization.  Protection exists for the life of the author, plus 50 
years after death.  In addition, Belgium has passed a revised copyright 
law which brings Belgian practice into conformity with existing EU 
directives.  However, EU directives permit some variation in each member 
state and U.S. firms wishing to protect their copyrights in Belgium 
should consult local legal counsel.  This is particularly true regarding 
reciprocity provisions in the new law.    
Priority areas for harmonization of national law throughout the European 
Union have been identified in the European Commission's green paper and 
follow-up paper.  Steps have been taken in the fields of: 
- Computer Programs (adopted):  Software protected as literary 
- Satellite Transmissions (adopted and in force):  Authorizations from 
the copyright holder only in the member state from which 
  the transmission occurs. 
- Cable Broadcasts (adopted and in force):  Rights for the  
  simultaneous, unaltered retransmission by cable of programs 
  would be negotiated exclusively within collective management 
- Rental/Lending and related rights (adopted):  Exclusive right 
  permitting  authorities, performers and producers, film and 
  record producers to authorize or forbid the rental or lending 
  of their works.  Derogations possible.  The directive 
  harmonizes member state legislation on certain neighboring 
  rights concerning fixation reproduction, distribution, 
  broadcasting, and communications to the public. 
- Databases (proposal):  Harmonization of EU copyright rules 
  affecting databases, including an "unfair extraction" clause. 
- Copyright period (in force since July 1, 1995):  Copyright protection 
70 years after the death of the author; for 
  neighboring rights:  50 years. 
- Design and Model protection (proposal):  25 year period of 
  protection for industrial models and designs.  
Belgium is not a highly litigious country.  Nonetheless, U.S. companies 
should consult local attorneys for most business transactions.  For 
example, we have already noted the need for local attorneys when drawing 
up an agency or a distribution agreement.  The standard U.S. agreement, 
which often applies U.S. law, will not suffice in Europe.   Local 
attorneys are also needed when registering patents, trademarks, or 
copyrights.  Lastly, local legal advice is essential when setting up an 
office, or when establishing a distribution or coordination center.  The 
Commercial Service of the U.S. Embassy maintains a list of local lawyers 
specializing in business transactions in Belgium and Europe. 
The U.S. Embassy publishes monthly a professional commercial magazine, 
entitled "Business Links", which is sent to over 4,000 Belgian importers 
of U.S. products and services, along with 1,000 American companies 
operating in Belgium.  It is also sent in a similar version to some 
3,000 Dutch importers of U.S. products and services.  U.S. companies are 
free to advertize in the magazine.  Rates are available from the 
Commercial Section of the Embassy or from the publisher, David Starr, 
Computerware, Avenue de la Fauconnerie 60, B-1170 Brussels, Belgium, 
Tel: 32-2-660-5468, Fax: 32-2-672-7749.  
The American Chamber of Commerce also publishes a monthly magazine, 
which goes to its 1,000 members.  Consisting of American companies 
operating in Belgium and Belgian firms with U.S. business interests, the 
Chamber magazine reaches a particular clientele of interest to some 
American exporters.  Rates are available from the American Chamber (Tel: 
32/2/513-6770 Fax: 32/2/513-7928) 
In addition, Belgium has a number of sophisticated newspapers and 
magazine published in Dutch or French.  They are listed below, along 
with the one English language magazine published in Belgium, The 
Bulletin.  English readers in Belgium also can choose from the 
International Paris Herald Tribune and the Wall Street Journal's 
European Edition. 
De Standaard (Dutch daily) 
Gossetlaan 30 
1702 Groot-Bijgaarden 
Tel:  32/2/467-2211 
Fax:  32/2/466-3093 
Knack (Dutch weekly) 
Tervurenlaan 153 
1150 Brussels 
Tel:  32/2/736-6040 
Fax:  32/2/735-6857 
De Financieel Ekonomische Tijd (Dutch daily) 
BP Building 
St. Lazarusplein 2, 6th floor 
1210 Brussels 
Tel:  32/2/217-2205 
Fax:  32/2/217-0976 
Trends Magazine (Dutch weekly) 
Research Park Zellik 
De Haak 2 
1731 Zellik 
Tel:  32/2/467-5700 
Fax:  32/2/467-5758 
Le Soir (French daily) 
Place de Louvain 21 
1000 Brussels 
Tel:  32/2/225-5432 
Fax:  32/2/225-5914 
La Libre Belgique (French daily) 
Bd. Emile Jacqmain 127 
1000 Brussels 
Tel:  32/2/211-2777 
Fax:  32/2/211-2832 
L'Echo (French daily) 
Av. de Birmingham 131 
1070 Brussels 
Tel:  32/2/526-5511 
Fax:  32/2/526-5526 
Trends Tendances (French weekly) 
Research Park Zellik 
De Haak 2 
1731 Zellik 
Tel:  32/2/467-5900 
Fax:  32/2/467-5759 
The Bulletin (English Weekly) 
Ackroyd Publications 
Avenue Moliere 329 
1060 Brussels 
Tel: 32/2/343-9909 
Fax: 32/2/343-9822 
SECTORS:  (Data in the following tables is in US$ millions and ranked by 
next year's expected growth rate in U.S. exports). 
1.   Telecommunication Services (TES) 
      a)  4,840     b) 668 
2.   Computer Software (CSF) 
      a)  1,800     b) 778 
3.   Aircraft and Parts (AIR) 
      a)    720     b) 300 
4.   Automotive Parts and Services Equipment (APS) 
      a)  3,774     b) 114 
5.   Travel and Tourism Services (TRA) 
      a) 10,015     b) 350 
6.   Computer and Peripherals (CPT) 
      a)  1,858     b) 436 
7.   Telecommunication Equipment (TEL) 
      a)  2,795     b) 159 
8.   Computer Services (CSV) 
      a)  2,132     b) 518 
9.   Pollution Control Equipment (POL) 
      a)  1,800     b) 100 
10.  Printing and Graphic Art Equipment (PGA) 
      a)    580     b) 218 
11.  Plastic Materials and Resins (PMR) 
      a)  2,890     b) 168 
12.  Textile Fabrics (TXF) 
      a)  2,100     b)  86 
13.  Laboratory Scientific Instruments (LAB) 
      a)    229     b) 127 
14.  Medical Equipment (MED)  
      a)    668     b) 120  
15.  Apparel (APP) 
      a)  3,050     b)  85 
16.  Sporting Goods and Recreational Equipment (SPT) 
      a)    788     b)   8 
17.  Electric Power Systems (EPS) 
      a)  3,163     b)  80      
18.  Building Products (BLD) 
      a) 12,108     b)  60 
19.  Seafood (MFI) 
      a)    650     b)  15 
NOTE:  a) 1995 estimated total Belgium market size (US$ M.) 
       b) 1995 estimated imports from the United States (US$ M.) 
Rank of sector:  1  
Name of Sector: Telecommunication Services  
ITA industry code: TES 
The Belgian telecom operator BELGACOM is under great pressure to broaden 
and modernize its telecom services.  Value-added network services are 
already subject to free market competition.  Several foreign and U.S. 
companies have recently started selling value-added network services in 
the market.  Voice services will continue to be offered under the 
monopoly by BELGACOM until 1998.  Voice services for closed user groups 
are currently offered in competition.  Voice services represent 70 % of 
total sales, a share which is expected to remain the same in the 
foreseeable future.  The largest growth is expected to occur in data-
network services.  Data-network services currently represent 10% of 
total sales and are expected to climb to 15% of total sales in 1996.  
Best sales prospects are packet switched network services, frame relay 
services, ISDN network services, value-added network services, mobile 
voice and data communications services.   
Data table                      1994              1995         1996 
A. Total Sales                  4,066              4,840       5,760 
B  Sales by Local Firms         3,144              3,680       4,306 
C  Exports by Local Firms              N/A 
D  Sales by Foreign-owned Firms   910              1,160       1,479 
E  Sales by U.S.-owned Firms      566                668         788 
   Exchange Rate: $ = BEF        33.5                 31          31 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
Rank of sector:   2  
Name of Sector: Computer Software  
ITA industry code: CSF 
The Belgian computer software market is characterized by the existence 
of a multitude of small local service providers who concentrate on a 
small number of clients, and by large foreign suppliers such as IBM, 
SNI, Digital, HP and Unisys who cover directly a considerable share of 
the market.  While the latter are principally hardware suppliers, the 
sales of these companies are made up for a large part of software.   
The Belgian software market is following the U.S. market very closely.  
New product announcements in the U.S. by leading suppliers are 
introduced in Belgium only with a couple of months of delay.  The total 
market for computer software in Belgium is made up for more than one 
third of application software.  Best prospects here are standard 
application software for businesses and home users.  The market for 
development tools has also grown faster than the total market.  While 
the European market of software for PCs only grew by 4 percent in value 
terms in 1994, the Belgian market performed much better and grew by 18 
percent to amount to some $53 million in 1994.  This market is expected 
to continue to grow at the same pace during the coming years.  It is 
estimated that some 70% of the users have already opted for Windows.  
Window-programs and applications under Windows are expected to continue 
to sell very well.  Macintosh-applications also continue to sell well.  
DOS-applications are no longer in demand.       
Data table                            1994         1995        1996 
A. Total Market Size                 1,622        1,800            1,998 
B.  Total Local Production             608          675              749 
C.  Total Exports                      328          378              435 
D.  Total Imports                    1,342        1,503            1,683 
E.  Total Imports from U.S             695          778              771 
   Exchange Rate: $ = BEF             33.5           31               31 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
Rank of sector:  3  
Name of Sector: Aircraft and Parts  
ITA industry code: AIR 
SABENA, with its subsidiaries DAT and SOBELAIR, is the only significant 
carrier in Belgium.  By the year 2000, Sabena will have to replace 
eleven 737's.  Pending EU's approval, SWISSAIR is soon to replace AIR 
FRANCE as partner with 49% of Sabena's capital.  It is therefore 
expected that Sabena's fleet will be renewed consistently with 
Swissair's fleet.  EUROBELGIAN AIRLINES (EBA) is a fast-growing charter 
company that currently operates eleven 737's. It started with two 737's 
in 1991.  SABENA TECHNICS plays an important role as a third party 
repair and maintenance station.  The only significant general aviation 
company is ABELAG.  It imports, maintains and operates several brands of 
general aviation planes and also provides ground handling for heads of 
state planes.  The number of Belgian companies involved in 
manufacturing/supplying aircraft parts is approximately 120.  The best 
way to contact them is via their trade associations FLAG and GEBECOMA.  
To enter the military market, U.S. suppliers should contact the Office 
of Defense Cooperation (ODC) via the U.S. Embassy.   
Data table                             1994        1995        1996 
A. Total Market Size                    616         720         843 
B. Total Local Production               154         169         186 
C. Total Exports                         38          49          64 
D. Total Imports                        500         600         720 
E. Total Imports from U.S.              250         300         360 
   Exchange Rate: $ = BEF              33.5          31          31 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
Rank of sector:  4  
Name of Sector: Automotive Parts and Service Equipment  
ITA industry code: APS 
Belgium's automobile as well as automotive parts and equipment market 
can best be summarized as follows: the number of cars registered is 4 
million while the number of maintenance and repair outlets is 13,000.  
In addition, its has a very strong assembly industry (GM, Ford, VW, 
Volvo, and Renault) that assemble 1.2 million vehicles annually.  
Europeans in general, and Belgians in particular, tend to keep their 
cars longer than Americans.  In Belgium, 54% of the cars are over five 
years old.  At all times, American garage equipment has been considered 
top-of-the line.  This holds true especially for high performance test 
equipment.  This positive image is now further enhanced with the 
spectacular come-back of U.S.-made cars.  Best sub-sectors include anti-
theft devices, fast-rotating replacement parts, gadgets for in-car 
entertainment, and car enhancement and maintenance products.       
Data table                              1994        1995       1996 
A. Total Market Size                   2,880       3,774      4,906 
B. Total Local Production              1,600       2,080      2,704 
C. Total Exports                         480         624        811 
D. Total Imports                       1,760       2,288      3,744 
E. Total Imports from U.S.                88         114        148 
   Exchange Rate: $ = BEF               33.5          31         31 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
Rank of sector:  5  
Name of Sector: Travel and Tourism Services 
ITA industry code: TRA 
Travel trends from Belgium to the United States remain buoyant, aided by 
a low dollar exchange rate and competitive transatlantic air fares.  
Since the Gulf War in 1991, there has been growth at a rate of 7-9% per 
annum, which is expected to extend well over 1996.  The progression in 
the number of visitors has been as follows (000): 
Data table                              1994        1995       1996 
U.S. visitors (thousands)                201         218        236 
Fly-and-drive packages, mobile home vacations and youth travel are major 
growth sectors.  The Visit USA Travel and Tourism Information Center 
serves both the travel trade and general public.  It services over 
20,000 requests annually for information, and organizes travel promotion 
events.  The two major ones are the Brussels Travel Fair (next event: 
November 21-23, 1995), and the Visit USA Seminar (next event: March 7, 
1996), where some ninety exhibitors meet over five hundred travel trade 
professionals from Belgium and Luxembourg.  
Data table                            1994         1995        1996 
A.  Total Sales in Country           9,910       10,015      10,125 
B.  Sales by local firms             2,935        2,980       3,010 
C.  Not applicable 
D.  Sales by foreign-owned firms     6,975        7,035       7,098 
E.  Sales by U.S.-owned firms          325          350         376 
   Exchange Rate: $ = BEF             33.5           31          31 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
Para E, sales by U.S.-owned firms, excludes sales of airline or other 
transatlantic transportation tickets. 
Rank of sector:  6  
Name of Sector: Computer and Peripherals 
ITA industry code: CPT 
The outlook for the Belgian computer hardware market is one of healthy 
growth. Belgian companies and government institutions are increasing 
investments to automate further their office and workshop environments.  
Businesses continue to adopt client/server architectures instead of old 
proprietary mainframes - a trend which is expected to continue for some 
years.  This causes the market for big systems to persist its 
uninterrupted down turn.  The PC market is growing fast.  Some 86,749 
PCs were sold during the first quarter of 1995, which represents a 24.8 
percent increase compared to the first quarter of 1994 (69,484 units).  
Compaq has surpassed IBM (8.5%) as market leader with a 12.7% market 
share, followed by Apple (6.5%) , Vobis (4.7%), and HP (4.6%).  The 
growth in the PC market is mainly due to the flourishing home market.  
The best prospect niches in the hardware sector are network hardware, 
work stations, datacom equipment, PCs and portables, and optical media.     
Data table                            1994         1995        1996 
A. Total Market Size                 1,813        1,858       1,957 
B.  Total Local Production             225          223         227  
C.  Total Exports                      361          362         363 
D.  Total Imports                    1,949        1,997       2,093 
E.  Total Imports from U.S             423          436         458 
   Exchange Rate: $ = BEF             33.5           31          31 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
Rank of sector:  7  
Name of Sector: Telecommunications Equipment 
ITA industry code: TEL 
Competition in the telecommunications equipment market is increasing 
with as a consequence declining prices and shrinking margins.  The 
revenues from supplies, installation, and maintenance of customer 
premises equipment, including PABXs, faxes, and modems, is still 
increasing.  These sales amounted to $365 million in 1994, while sales 
in 1995 are expected to reach $371 billion, and almost $381 million in 
1996.  It is anticipated that the hardware supply market to the telecom 
operator BELGACOM will decrease in value terms.  However, this loss is 
expected to be compensated by network infrastructure investments by the 
future second GSM-network operator and by the cable operators for the 
second voice and multimedia network.  Most promising subsectors are: 
ISDN terminal equipment, MAN and WAN network equipment, mobile radio 
equipment including GSM and DECT, telecommunications transmission 
network equipment: SDH and ATM, broadcasting equipment, and voice 
processing systems.   
Data table                          1994     1995     1996 
A. Total Market Size               2,612    2,795    2,989 
B.  Total Local Production         1,352    1,420    1,491 
C.  Total Exports                    823      946    1,088 
D.  Total Imports                  2,083    2,321    2,586 
E.  Total Imports from U.S           143      159      180      
   Exchange Rate: $ = BEF           33.5       31       31 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
Rank of sector:  8  
Name of Sector:  Computer Services  
ITA industry code: CSV 
The Belgian information technology industry continues to reposition 
itself.  The Belgian computer services sector is confronted with 
increasing competition from abroad especially from low cost countries 
such as India and South-East Asia, continuing price wars especially in 
consultancy and facilities management, and the decline in maintenance 
activities of proprietary systems which all have negative percussions on 
the sector.   Positive signs are the economic recovery, the high demand 
for PCs, the expansion of networks, the proliferation of software 
packages especially for network environments, and the emergence of out 
source.  Some 2,000 computer service companies are currently active in 
the Belgian market most of them are small to medium-sized companies.  
Four out of ten are systems integrators.  Systems integration is the 
fastest growing segment of the Belgian IT market.  Other best prospects 
are network management, E-mail services, value-added network services, 
management consultancy, development to measure, training, Internet and 
on-line services.       
Data table                 1994     1995     1996 
A. Total Sales            1,921    2,132    2,367           
B.  Sales by Local Firms  1,030    1,135     1,249           
C.  Exports by Local Firms     N/A                
D.  Sales by Foreign-owned 
    Firms                   891      997     1,117         
E.  Sales by U.S.-owned 
    Firms                   463      518       530           
   Exchange Rate: $ = BEF  33.5       31        31 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
Rank of sector:  9  
Name of Sector: Pollution Control Equipment 
ITA industry code: POL 
Belgium, as one of the most densely industrialized and populated areas 
in the world, is vulnerable to numerous pollution problems.  The 
chemical industry, with annual sales of $27 billion, is one the 
country's mainstays.  The Antwerp area is the world's second largest 
complex of chemical industries, after Houston.  The market for pollution 
control equipment is driven both by EU directives, which Belgium is now 
actively transposing into its own regulations - and gradually enforcing 
by penalties - and by unabated conservationists' pressure.  Sixty 
percent of Belgian companies are planning environmentally related 
investment in equipment of at least $32,000 per company over the next 
two years.  Best sub-sectors include equipment for filtering and 
processing effluent, scrubbers, water and gas analysis instruments, 
programmable process controls, sludge treatment technologies, soil 
remediation technologies and recycling equipment, especially for used 
Data table                      1994     1995      1996 
A. Total Market Size           1,620    1,800     1,998 
B. Total Local Production        900    1,000     1,111 
C. Total Exports                 180      200       222 
D. Total Imports                 900    1,000     1,111 
E. Total Imports from U.S.        90      100       111 
   Exchange Rate: $ = BEF       33.5       31        31 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
Rank of sector: 10  
Name of Sector: Printing and Graphic Art Equipment 
ITA industry code: PGA 
The printing and graphic art equipment is to be divided into the 
following two distinct subsectors: 
-     Electronic publishing equipment, which has been growing extremely 
fast in the last years.  The United States market share is 60 percent.  
Companies with the latest technology will find strong interest. 
-     "Mechanical" equipment such as presses and bookbinding equipment.  
This sector is characterized by an overwhelming presence of German 
equipment.  The United States only has 2 percent market share and 
European competition is extremely strong. 
Data table                  1994     1995     1996 
A.  Total Market Size        565      580      593 
B.  Total Local Production    16       15       14 
C.  Total Exports            145      150      157 
D.  Total Imports            694      715      736 
E.  Total Imports from U.S   208      218      228 
   Exchange Rate: $ = BEF   33.5       31       31 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
Rank of sector: 11  
Name of Sector: Plastic Materials and Resins  
ITA industry code: PMR 
The market improvement, which began in 1994, is expected to continue at 
a steady 1.5% to 2% in 1996 and 1997.  The increase in demand has, 
however, been accompanied by low price levels, as producers seek volume 
for an industry which currently has excess capacity.  Restructuring and 
re-grouping will continue in the industry, which looks to concentrate 
production in fewer units in order to achieve cost savings from volume 
production and centralized marketing and distribution.  The outlook for 
the Belgian plastics' industry is good owing to its proximity to 
international shipping and distribution locations and the extensive 
restructuring, which has already taken place.  At the current low dollar 
exchange rate, source from the U.S. is expected to increase by about 
five percent in 1996-97. 
Data table                     1994     1995     1996 
A.  Total Market Size          2,850   2,890    2,930     
B.  Total Local Production    26,000  26,300   26,825 
C.  Total Exports             25,380  25,690   26,225 
D.  Total Imports              2,230   2,280    2,330     
E.  Total Imports from U.S       160     168      176    
   Exchange Rate: $ = BEF       33.5      31       31 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
Rank of sector: 12  
Name of Sector: Textile Fabrics 
ITA industry code: TXF  
An increase in consumer demand in Belgium is expected to develop for mid 
1995.  At the same time, an improvement in export markets, especially in 
the EU, will favor Belgian upholstered furniture production with a 
consequent increase in the demand for furnishing textiles.  Improved 
consumer spending will also favor home decoration textiles.  The U.S. is 
an important exporter of furnishing and decorative textiles to Belgium.  
The annual Decosit trade show has become the major international 
furnishing and decorative textiles event.  In cooperation with the U.S. 
Department's Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA), the U.S. Embassy 
organizes a U.S. pavilion at Decosit.  The next event is on September 
10-13, 1995.  Companies interested in exhibiting should contact OTEXA, 
U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington DC 20230; tel: (202) 482-5153; 
fax: (202) 482-2859. 
Data table                      1994     1995     1996 
A.  Total Market Size           1,980   2,100    2,226      
B.  Total Local Production      4,300   4,450    4,604   
C.  Total Exports               3,930   4,150    4,390   
D.  Total Imports               1,610   1,800    2,012   
E.  Total Imports from U.S.        83      86       92  
   Exchange Rate: $ = BEF        33.5      31       31 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
Rank of sector: 13  
Name of Sector: Laboratory Scientific Instruments 
ITA industry code: LAB 
All major U.S. and European multinational chemical companies have a 
presence in Belgium, either with manufacturing facilities or with 
European headquarters.  The chemical/pharmaceutical industry plays an 
all-important role in Belgium, with annual sales of $27 billion.  In 
addition to this industry, other users of scientific instruments are 
Belgium's seven universities and numerous companies engaged in 
biotechnology.  Increasing constraints imposed by quality control to 
implement ISO 9000 certification, as well as stringent pollution control 
regulations are vigorously driving this market.  The most promising sub-
sectors are instruments and apparatus for physical or chemical analysis 
such as polarimeters, refractometers and spectrometers.  
Data table                      1994     1995     1996 
A. Total Market Size             218      229     240 
B. Total Local Production          0        0       0 
C. Total Exports                  24       25      26 
D. Total Imports                 242      254     266 
E. Total Imports from U.S.       121      127     133 
   Exchange Rate: $ = BEF       33.5       31     31 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
Rank of sector: 14 
Name of Sector: Medical Equipment 
ITA industry code: MED 
Overall, the sophistication and quality of medical services in Belgium 
match that of any other country in northern Europe.  In addition, 
Belgium has a well developed national medical insurance system covering 
almost the entire population.  Annual payments to providers total nearly 
$19 billion. 
In 1991, Belgium ranked 13th among the 24 OECD nations in terms of 
health care spending as percentage of GDP, and fifth out the then twelve 
EU member states. 
The tendency is toward ready acceptance of U.S.-sourced equipment, 
especially that with FDA approval.  Only 15% of local requirements are 
manufactured locally. Most promising sub-sectors include electro-
diagnostic apparatus, infant care equipment, intensive care equipment, 
all medical systems and equipment facilitating shorter stays in the 
hospital, non-invasive techniques reducing the need for surgery, and 
advanced medical imagery.    
Data table                    1994     1995     1996 
A. Total Market Size           639      668      704 
B. Total Local Production       80       81       82 
C. Total Exports                12       13     13.2  
D. Total Imports               571      600      629 
E. Total Imports from U.S      114      120     126 
   Exchange Rate: $ = BEF     33.5       31      31 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
Rank of sector: 15  
Name of Sector: Apparel 
ITA industry code: APP 
Consumer spending in Belgium is slowly picking up.  It is expected that 
pent-up demand will boost sales from mid 1995.  There is continued 
strong market interest for U.S. sporting and leisure apparel, where U.S. 
styles are accepted and designer and branded products are less price 
sensitive.  The main competition comes from manufacturers and designers 
in France, Germany and Italy.  For budget clothing and mass distribution 
items, low cost producers in the Far East, such as China and Indonesia, 
and North Africa provide the bulk of imports. 
Data table                      1994     1995     1996 
A.  Total Market Size          2,900    3,050     3,200     
B.  Total Local Production     1,600    1,800     2,061     
C.  Total Exports                985    1,050     1,114     
D.  Total Imports              2,285    2,300     2,316   
E.  Total Imports from U.S.       82       85        89 
   Exchange Rate: $ = BEF       33.5       31        31 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
Rank of sector: 16  
Name of Sector: Sporting Goods and Recreational Equipment 
ITA industry code: SPT 
After a long period of almost stagnation, consumer demand in Belgium 
shows signs of picking up in 1995.  The effect of pent-up demand should 
result in strong growth from 1996.  EU producers are still the main 
suppliers of sporting goods to Belgium, although Far East producers are 
a strong force in markets such as rackets (tennis, badminton, squash 
etc.) and bicycles.  The U.S. is the market leader in golf, tennis and 
basketball equipment.  Basketball and American football provide a small, 
but steady, market for U.S.-sourced products. 
Data table                      1994     1995     1996 
A.  Total Market Size            778      788      804 
B.  Total Local Production       701      712      728  
C.  Total Exports                 27       30       33  
D.  Total Imports                104      106      109  
E.  Total Imports from U.S.        6        8       10   
   Exchange Rate: $ = BEF       33.5       31       31 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
Rank of sector: 17   
Name of Sector: Electric Power Systems 
ITA industry code: ELS 
Sixty percent of Belgium's power requirement is of nuclear origin.  Coal 
generating plants produce twenty-five percent, and natural gas from 
Algeria, the Netherlands and the North Sea, mainly Norway, accounts for 
twelve percent.  Production increased 2.2% in 1994, in line with the 
general improvement in industrial output in Belgium.  Continued steady 
growth is expected in 1995 and 1996.  A program of investment, well 
coordinated between the production and distribution companies, provides 
for steady modernization and maintenance of the system.  With the low 
dollar exchange rate, U.S. manufacturers are well placed to share in 
this business.  However, there is strong competition from manufacturers 
in the EU. 
Data table                    1994     1995     1996 
A.  Total Market Size        2,908    3,163    3,441   
B.  Total Local Production   1,835    2,018    2,303      
C.  Total Exports              150      200      220  
D.  Total Imports            1,223    1,345    1,358 
E.  Total Imports from U.S      79       80       82 
   Exchange Rate: $ = BEF     33.5       31       31      
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
Rank of sector: 18  
Name of Sector:  Building products  
ITA industry code: BLD 
In addition to the softwood plywood, where the U.S. industry supplies 
100% of the market ($30 million for the Belgian market, plus $9 million 
for re-export), there is also good potential for a limited number of 
innovative U.S. building products listed below.  Forty thousand new 
homes are built annually in Belgium and a multiple of that number is 
being remodeled.  However, building patterns are very different from 
those in the United States in that only ten percent of the Belgian homes 
are prefabricated, and that nearly 100 percent all of the homes are 
built with brick.  In addition, homes are built to last for two or more 
generations.  For commercial buildings, concrete is preferred over all 
other materials.  Best sub-sectors include plywood and particle board, 
roofing products, building sealants, do-it-yourself building sub-
components and intrusion alarm systems.     
Data table                   1994     1995     1996 
A. Total Market Size       11,954   12,108   12,315 
B. Total Local Production  10,395   10,530   10,709 
C. Total Exports            1,039    1,053   1,070 
D. Total Imports            2,598    2,631   2,670 
E. Total Imports from U.S.     60       60      62 
   Exchange Rate: $ = BEF    33.5       31      31 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
Rank of sector: 19  
Name of Sector: Seafood 
ITA industry code: MFI 
Per capita consumption of seafood in Belgium reached a high of 20.5 
kilos in 1994, a 19% increase since 1985.  The traditional fresh fish 
business is still strong but there is also a trend evolving towards high 
profile, high quality value-added products.  Belgium is an excellent 
distribution center for much of Europe.  Most promising subsectors are 
lobster, salmon and frozen value-added seafood.  
Data table                    1994     1995     1996 
A. Total Market Size           622      650      679           
B.  Total Local Production      41       41       42           
C.  Total Exports              159      166      174      
D.  Total Imports              740      775      811           
E.  Total Imports from U.S    14.2       15     15.8           
   Exchange Rate: $ = BEF     33.5       31       31 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
are not ranked in terms of best prospects and the figures provided are 
in volume not $ terms): 
Data for 1994 and 1995 included in these charts are estimates 
Source of trade data: National Institute of Statistics 
Exchange Rates:     Cy  1993      1$ = BF 34.53 
          Cy  1994      1$ = BF 33.42 
          June 1, 1995  1$ = BF 28.87 
A.  Name of Sector:   Wine   
                                     1993       1994        1995 
                                          In 1,000 liters   
B.  Total Market Size             192,743    203,237   202,400 
C.  Total Local Production 
    1. Belgium                        400        400       400 
    2. Luxembourg                  15,000     15,000    15,000 
D.  Total Exports                  13,383     14,000    17,000  
E.  Total Imports                 190,726    201,837   204,000   
F.  Total Imports from U.S.           765        519       600 
C.  Belgium and Luxembourg yearly average    
BLEU (Belgium and Luxembourg Economic Union) per capita consumption of 
wine slightly declined.  The BLEU wine consumer, however, has shifted to 
higher quality wines.  Because of growing consumption of quality wines 
at home and the fact that Belgium has a substantial number of high-
quality restaurants, we believe that the Belgian wine market has more 
potential for U.S. quality wines.  In contrast to The Netherlands and 
other Northern European countries, in Belgium approximately 30 percent 
of all wine sales come from the on-trade segment of the wine market, 
i.e. hotels, restaurants and bars.  Time and persistence will be 
necessary to progress in this market.  A long-range marketing program 
for Belgium and Luxembourg is a must to develop quality awareness of 
U.S. wines of Belgian and Luxembourg consumers.  The best way for the 
U.S. wine industry to counter the tough competition in this market is to 
continue to participate in wine fairs and tastings, to work directly 
with importers, to advertise in publications and to put promotional 
funding into information for restaurant owners, as well as hotel and 
restaurant schools and wine clubs. 
A.  Name of Sector:   Nuts    
                                 1993      1994      1995 
                                        In MT  
B.  Total Market Size          23,924    24,398    24,500     
C.  Total Local Production        500       500       500       
D.  Total Exports               2,930     3,479     3,500 
E.  Total Imports              26,354    27,377    27,500 
F.  Total Imports from U.S.     1,216     1,464     1,500 
F. Mainly almonds and walnuts 
Compared to other EU countries, i.e. Germany and The Netherlands,  
Belgium has a minor per capita consumption of nuts in general.  However, 
for the last five years the nut consumption has been growing 
continuously and Belgium still has a high potential for 
imports/consumption of nuts.  The major part of imported nuts goes to 
wholesalers and retailers of ethnic groups in Belgium. Nevertheless, 
distribution of nuts through supermarkets has expanded considerably 
during the last five years.  Many nuts are imported in "bulk and natural 
(in-shell)" or  "grilled and salted" by EU buyers and distributors.  The 
quality/price relationship, however, also appears to be an important 
factor.  Belgium also has a wide-range of domestic food processing firms 
(bakery products, confectionery, ice cream etc.) which use nuts. 
A.  Name of Sector:   Citrus Fruits 
                                  1993        1994       1995 
                                       In MT 
B.  Total Market Size          201,780     205,150    207,000 
C.  Total Local Production           0           0          0 
D.  Total Exports               52,873      53,384     54,000 
E.  Total Imports              254,653     258,534    261,000 
F.  Total Imports from U.S.      6,823      10,355     11,000 
F.  Mainly grapefruits 
Average per capita consumption of citrus fruits in Belgium and 
Luxembourg steadily increased over the last decade.  Belgians spent 
approximately 15 percent of total disposable budget for fruits on citrus 
fruits. Total imports from the U.S. substantially increased in 1994 and 
we anticipate that imports from the U.S. will continue to expand.   
Belgium is home to one of the largest ports in the world, Antwerp.  The 
infrastructure of the port of Antwerp is quite extensive and of a very 
high quality, with established warehouses per specific commodity.  
Additionally, Belgium has a mega European distribution center for fruits 
in the Brussels area, servicing not only Belgium but also its 
neighboring countries.  Although U.S. exporters face tough competition 
from EU supplier Spain, as well as from Israel, Cyprus, Morocco and 
South Africa, there continues to be potential for high quality and good 
quality/price-related citrus fruits. 
A.  Name of Sector: Miscellaneous Food Preparations 
                                    1993      1994      1995 
                                          - In MT - 
B.  Total Market Size            309,130   315,000    315,000    
C.  Total Local Production       532,067   540,000    540,000 
D.  Total Exports                944,039   950,000    950,000 
E.  Total Imports                721,102   725,000    725,000 
F.  Total Imports from U.S.       10,097    11,000     11,000 
B.  Market size is derived from partial production volume and trade 
C.  Data is partial production volume only, mainly canned food products 
and specialty food products.  Production figures of some food processing 
industries are confidential and therefore unavailable. 
We anticipate an increase in consumption of prepared food products in 
response to the needs of the growing number of microwave users, one-
person households and working women.  A growing awareness of high-
quality U.S. processed food products as well as a continued low dollar 
exchange value are valuable assets to further explore opportunities for 
"new" products.  We have noted that newly-established companies have had 
a particular interest in "niche market" products.  Advantages that U.S. 
companies may have are in their product uniqueness, high quality, 
competitive prices and continuity in supply.  U.S. suppliers looking for 
new export markets should be prepared to invest in research that will 
determine the market access potential of their product.   A vehicle for 
developing contacts of "niche market" products could be the trade lead 
services provided by FA/ABC, and the Regional Export Organizations.  For 
the whole range of packaged food items, the best two vehicles for 
promotion in Belgium are the ANUGA and SIAL fairs taking place elsewhere 
in Europe.     
A.  Name of Sector:  Juices 
                                    1993      1994      1995 
                                         In MT 
B.  Total Market Size             87,932    90,000    92,000  
C.  Total Local Production        66,000    68,000    70,000 
D.  Total Exports                126,325   130,000   130,000 
       Of which citrus juices     83,044    85,000    85,000 
E.  Total Imports                148,257   152,000   152,000 
       Of which citrus juices     91,206    93,000    93,000  
F.  Total Imports from U.S         6,327     7,000     7,000 
       Of which citrus juices      5,695     6,000     6,000  
B.  Market size is derived from trade data and estimated 
production figures. 
C.  Official production figures are unavailable;  these figures have 
therefore been calculated by the office of Agricultural Affairs based on 
the average per capita consumption of all juices. 
Belgium has a number of major importers/processors/exporters of fruit 
juices. A substantial volume of juice is imported as concentrate and/or 
in bulk, processed and packed for retail sales.  Per capita consumption 
of juices in Belgium and Luxembourg, especially citrus fruits, has grown 
to approximately 8.50 liters, compared to 5.50 liters in 1986.   Of 
total juices consumed, almost 90 percent is of citrus fruits.  The best 
potential for U.S. citrus juices is through integrated and associated 
distribution channels.   
A.  Name of Sector:   Forest and Wood Products 
                                  1993      1994      1995 
                                     - in thousand MT - 
B.  Total Market Size            4,545    4,350      4,350 
C.  Total Local Production       3,255    3,350      3,400          
D.  Total Exports                2,944    3,000      3,050 
E.  Total Imports                4,234    4,000      4,000 
F.  Total Imports from U.S.        138      135        135 
C. Estimate 
Although the Belgian wood processing industry contracted during the last 
two years, it remains an important sector that employs approximately 
28,000 workers in a little over 2,000 enterprises.  1,500 of these 
enterprises are furniture manufacturers.  Total production value of the 
industry reached BF 134.7 billion in 1993.  The furniture industry 
accounted for BF 78.4 billion.  1993 total domestic consumption in the 
overall wood processing industry reached BF 70 billion. FA activities 
and U.S. trade contacts with major Belgian importers of forest products 
aim to help increase Belgian awareness of the U.S. forest products 
available for export.   The international wood importing trade is 
presently searching for alternatives in replacement of tropical 
hardwoods, and Belgian importers say that they are increasingly 
contacted by end-users for advice on finding replacement hardwoods.  
Major importers anticipate that this is an excellent opportunity for 
"new" U.S. hardwoods to find in-roads into the Belgian market. 
A.     Name of sector:    Grains and grain preparations 
                                1993     1994          1995 
                In 1,000 MT grain 
B.     Total Market Size       4,271    4,253         4,300      
C.     Total local production  2,263    2,218         2,300      
D.     Total Exports           3,820    3,915         3,950 
E.     Total Imports           5,828    5,950         5,950 
F.     Total Imports from U.S.    69       86            90 
B.     Animal production in Belgium and Luxembourg represents around 
two-thirds of total agricultural production value, and the animal feed 
sector is a very large consumer of grain.  Grain demand is roughly 
divided between the animal feed sector (around 40 percent), the 
industrial sector (around 30 percent), the food sector (around 25 
percent), and others (seeds, losses, etc.).  The largest industrial 
users of grain are the starch industry (wheat and corn) and the malt 
industry (barley). 
C.     Two-thirds of local production of grain consist of wheat.  
Because domestic wheat production cannot always meet the high quality 
requirements of the food sector, imports are a necessity.  
D.     Belgium's two main ports, Antwerp and Ghent, play an important 
role in the grain trade in Western Europe.  Not only do large volumes of 
grain transit the country, but also exports of domestic grain 
preparations such as malt, wheat flour, bakery products and pasta 
products are considerable. 
E.     At present, exports from the U.S. consist mainly of wheat (26,000 
MT in 1994) and rice (more than 50,000 tons).  The U.S. market share in 
the sector of grain based products is negligible.  The Belgian consumer 
is, however, known to enjoy high-quality foods.  With a carefully chosen 
marketing strategy, there would certainly be opportunities to introduce 
more U.S. grain products on the Belgian market.  Some examples of 
markets with potential are: pasta products, biscuits and corn products.  
On the raw material side, opportunities lie in the area of durum wheat 
(where market share has been lost to Canada), bread wheat, rice and 
A.     Name of sector:    Oilseeds 
                                1993      1994          1995 
                 In 1,000 MT 
B.     Total Market Size       2,120     2,369         2,249 
C.     Total local production     28        51            48 
D.     Total Exports              36        39            44 
E.     Total Imports           2,128     2,357         2,245 
F.     Total Imports from U.S.   545       652           652     
B.     Demand for oilseeds in Belgium is determined primarily by the raw 
material requirements of the oilseed crushing industry, which imports 
(in decreasing order of importance) soybeans, rapeseed and 
sunflowerseed.  There are two large crushing companies in Belgium that 
are supplying both the domestic and the export markets with oilmeals for 
the animal feed sector, as well as vegetable oils for food and 
industrial use. 
E.     Imports of oilseeds from the U.S. consist mainly of soybeans.  
During recent years, soybean imports from the U.S. have declined, with 
market share lost mainly to South American exporters.  Also in the area 
of oilseed products, i.e. oilmeals and vegetable oils, South American 
imports have increased their market share.  Until now, sales of U.S. 
oilmeals to the Belgian market have been negligible.  In the sector of 
vegetable oils, sales have also remained limited to negligible 
quantities of sunflowerseed oil, peanut oil and fish oil.  The Belgian 
demand for vegetable oils in the food sector is rather saturated.  An 
important part of the forecasted demand increase in the short term will 
therefore be in the industrial segment.  Some industrial products which 
use vegetable oils are: soaps and detergents, printing ink, lubricants, 
paints, pharmaceutical products, skin care products and plastics.  The 
present climate of environmentalism and changing dietary habits offers 
an excellent opportunity for the U.S. to increase vegetable oil sales to 
both the food and industrial sector in Belgium.  The American Soybean 
Association effectively promotes the use of U.S. soybean products in the 
Belgian market. 
1.  Partial privatization of Belgacom (the state telecommunications 
company), worth at least $1 billion. 
2.  Possible further privatization of the Zaventem international airport 
3.  Location of a European-wide distribution center in Belgium. 
4.  Location of a European-wide coordination center in Belgium. 
5.  Development of a strategic alliance with a Belgian firm in one of 
the following sectors: communications, biotechnology, the environment, 
energy, chemicals, and electronics.  Such a venture could be targeted at 
Western Europe, Eastern Europe, or the Middle East. 
6.  Competition for a second cellular license in Belgium due by year's 
end and worth at least $120 million. 
7.  The Hermes project to use railroad rights-of-way to create a second 
European telephone trunk line, worth $750 million. 
8.  The Brussels Regional Government soon will call for a tender to 
design the Brussels North sewage treatment plant with a capacity to 
treat the effluent from 1.1 million inhabitants.  This $300 million 
plant will treat household waste water and a minimal amount of 
industrial waste water. 
The Government of the United States acknowledges the contribution that 
outward foreign direct investment makes to the U.S. economy.  U.S. 
foreign direct investment is increasingly viewed as a complement or even 
a necessary component of trade.  For example, roughly 60 percent of U.S. 
exports are sold by American firms that have operations abroad.  
Recognizing the benefits that U.S. outward investment brings to the U.S. 
economy, the Government of the United States undertakes initiatives, 
such as Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) programs, 
investment treaty negotiations and business facilitation programs, that 
support U.S. investors.  
Effects of the Single Market: 
To begin with, Belgium is part of the EU's single market of some 370 
million consumers.  Thus, there are many common product standards either 
in place or in the process of being put in place, and U.S. companies can 
eventually meet one product standard rather than fifteen different ones.  
There is a single duty among all EU members toward products coming from 
non-EU members.  VAT rates are being harmonized among the fifteen 
members and as of January 1, 1993, the EU in theory became borderless 
for the movement of goods.  U.S. companies can thus structure 
advertising and marketing campaigns which are pan-European.  U.S. 
companies can also look at distribution to all fifteen EU members from 
one location.  American firms must meet the common standards now being 
developed, and they should consider obtaining ISO 9000 quality 
certification if they are a manufacturer.  Quality, service and price 
competitiveness will remain paramount considerations for a European 
considering buying an American product or service.  Because of 
competition from all over Europe, a U.S. firm will want to offer an 
agent or a distributor credit terms as good as its European competitors 
- of course after being fully satisfied with the creditworthiness of the 
buyer.  Lastly, an American firm will have to follow EU directives on 
such important issues as product safety and recycling excess packaging.  
These directives will apply across the board in all member states. 
Nonetheless, there still are and will remain fifteen different markets, 
and U.S. companies should continue to approach each one somewhat 
separately.  For example, the single market will not eliminate regional 
language and cultural differences.  It will not eliminate differences in 
consumer buying patterns.  Regional economic differences will remain.  
There will be few distributors anywhere in Europe who can effectively 
distribute a product or service in all fifteen member states, and there 
will remain legalistic differences in the treatment of agents and 
distributors.  What do these differences mean for U.S. companies? 
They mean that an American firm must continue to have a number of 
distributors in Europe, especially in the most important markets. They 
also mean that a company must obtain sound legal advice in each country 
and market its product or service in a way sensitive to the cultural and 
social history of the country in which it operates.  They also mean that 
pan-European advertising and marketing are no panacea for individual 
country marketing.  Companies will have to experiment and see if such 
pan- European marketing really works for their product line or service. 
Thus, whether we see a single market fully born in 1996 or 2000, U.S. 
companies can take advantage of much of the single market now in place, 
keeping in mind that they must still treat each country's market 
differently.  American companies can look at the next ten years as a 
window of opportunity for becoming and remaining competitive in the 
single market of the future.  By beginning the process now, U.S. firms 
can meet the challenges of intense competition in the European 
Customs Valuation: 
As a member of the European Union, Belgium applies the EU common 
external tariff to goods imported from non-EU countries.  For goods 
imported into Belgium from other EU countries, no customs duties apply 
unless the goods contain components imported from outside the EU upon 
which customs duties have not been paid in another EU country. 
The EU is currently considering a change in its method of calculating 
customs values of imported goods.  Current EU customs valuation rules 
provide that, where there is a "chain of sales" leading to the 
importation of goods into the EU, the price paid in any of these sales 
can be used as the basis for establishing the customs value of the goods 
in questions.  The proposal under discussion would require that the 
customs value be based on the final sale price only.  If adopted, many 
U.S. multinationals exporting to the EU through a "chain of sales" would 
find that EU customs officials assign their products a higher customs 
value, and thus levy higher tariffs, than is now the case.  U.S. 
companies should follow this development carefully through their customs 
broker since its implementation would necessitate considerable 
adjustments in operations for major U.S. exporters to Europe. 
Import and Export Licenses and Quotas: 
Many products may be imported or exported without any prior license, but 
products from certain countries and certain listed products are subject 
to an import license.  An application for such a license must be made to 
the Office of Quotas and Licenses (OCCL/CDCV).  Strategic goods are also 
subject to an import and/or quota license.  A list of products subject 
to quotas or licenses can be obtained from the office of the OCCL/CDCV 
or by contacting a Belgian customs broker directly or via an American 
Office of Quotas and Licenses (OCCL/CDCV) 
Rue De Mot 24/26 
1040 Brussels, Belgium 
Tel: 32/2/233-6111 
Fax: 32/2/230-8322 
Mr. van Helleputte, Director General 
Value Added Tax: 
Goods imported into Belgium or made in Belgium are normally subject to a 
Value Added Tax payable upon importation if Belgium is the destination 
of the goods being shipped into the EU.  One of three rates will apply: 
6% daily necessities, food stuffs, etc; 
12% tobacco, fuel, etc.; and 
20.5% majority of commercial items. 
While VAT applies equally to domestically-produced goods, it is applied 
after all customs duties are added to the price of the goods.  Since EU 
products do not pay customs duties, while those from the U.S. do, the 
effective VAT rate for non-EU goods is actually higher than the rates 
cited above. 
Bonded Warehouses: 
While Belgium does not allow free trade zones, it does permit bonded 
warehouses near the main port of Antwerp and the national airport north 
of Brussels.  In addition, it is possible to create a private warehouse 
with the authorization of the customs authorities, which allows the U.S. 
firm to delay and even avoid payment of customs duties.  Goods can 
remain in such warehouses for up to one year, with duties and VAT 
payable only upon sale within Belgium or reexport to other countries 
within the EU.  A bank guarantee and certain reporting requirements are 
necessary to operate such a facility, and there are other stipulations 
governing such a warehouse.  
Begin Summary: 
European Community Ministers agreed in 1991 to abolish virtually all 
customs documentation on goods moving between EU countries by January 1, 
1993.  However, countries outside the EU are still required to obtain 
proper customs documentation.  The following is a summary of the 
documentation needed for U.S. exporters of goods to Belgium.  However, 
such information can change overnight.  U.S. exporters should always 
consult a reputable freight forwarded regarding recent changes in 
customs documentation and import/export regulations.  End summary. 
Shipping Documents: 
Following are the documentary requirements American exporters must meet 
when shipping to Belgium:  Mail and parcel post shipments require postal 
documentation in place of bills of lading.  Air cargo shipments require 
airway bills (in place of bills of lading) with the number of copies 
issued based on requirements of the importer and the airline used.  
Follow IATA and/or ICAO (plus all other applicable national and/or 
international) regulations governing labeling and packing of dangerous 
and restricted goods as well as issuance of the special shipper's 
certificate required under IATA rules for such items (airlines will 
supply this form).  ICAO rules may also require documents covering such 
shipments (airlines will supply information and forms if so required).  
U.S. exporters must also follow U.S. government requirements regarding 
export control documents, including the shipper's export declaration. 
Consular/Customs Invoice: 
Neither document is required in Belgium. 
Commercial Invoice: 
The commercial invoice (in triplicate) without requirement as to form, 
must contain full particulars, e.g., such as the following:  date; place 
of shipment; name/firm's name and address of seller and buyer; mode of 
transport; number, kind, and markings of the packages and their 
numerical order; exact description of goods - a customary commercial 
description according to kind, quality, grade, weight (both gross and 
net, in metric units), etc., with special emphasis to be placed on any 
factors which increase or decrease the value of the goods; agreed price 
of goods - unit cost, total cost F.O.B. factory plus shipping, insurance 
and other charges; delivery and payment terms; country of origin of 
goods; and the signature of the exporting firm.  It is useful if the 
commercial invoice contains the HTS code (Harmonized Tariff Schedule).  
This is not mandatory, but helps the importer to recognize the commodity 
and properly classify it for customs purposes.  The first four digits of 
the eight digit code are harmonized worldwide.  Additional information 
may be requested by the importer, under terms of a letter of credit, or 
due to the nature of a particular trade. 
Pro-Forma Invoice: 
A pro-forma invoice is acceptable in lieu of a commercial invoice.  It 
should include a complete description and value of the goods shipped.  
It is mostly used in cases where no actual invoicing between the shipper 
and the consignee exists. 
Bills of Lading: 
Generally, "To order" bills are acceptable.  Bills of lading should bear 
the name of the party to be notified.  The consignee needs the original 
bill of lading to take possession of the goods.  Express bills of lading 
are also acceptable.  These B/L's help speed up the process in cases 
where banking is not necessary.  With an express bill of lading, goods 
are automatically transferred to the designated consignee without 
presentation of the original B/L.  This is ideal for internal company 
shipments of goods sold on open account. 
Packing List: 
This is not a mandatory document.  However, including a packing list 
should facilitate customs clearance of goods. 
Certificate of Origin: 
No certificate of origin is, as a general rule, required under Belgian 
regulations on imports from the U.S. except when the certificate is 
specifically demanded in the import license.  Sometimes certificates of 
origin are requested by the importer/bank/letter of credit clause.  
There are no regulations concerning the form and preparation of the 
certificate, when necessary, but the data contained in it has to be 
certified by a Chamber of Commerce (which will probably require an 
additional notarized file copy).  Under EU regulations, certificates of 
origin may be required for stipulated goods, including goods subject to 
surveillance and/or quota requirements.  Goods covered by either of the 
systems usually require certificates of origin irrespective of the 
actual origin of the goods.  Importers will instruct their suppliers 
when certificates of origin are to be issued in such circumstances. 
Insurance Certificate: 
Normal commercial practices obtain.  Follow the instructions of the 
importer and the insurance company. 
Steamship Company Certificate: 
There are no known requirements. 
Import License: 
The vast majority of goods from the U.S. do not require an import 
license (as long as the importer is Belgium). 
U.S. Shippers Export Declaration: 
This is required if the value of the shipment is more than dols 2500 
(dols 500 for shipments through the U.S. postal service) or where a 
validated license is needed.  The dols 2,500 exemption (dols 500 for 
shipments through the U.S. postal service) applies to goods under each 
schedule B number in a single shipment from one exporter to one 
Consular Fees: 
There is no known general requirement to have documents legalized.  If 
requested to legalize a shipping or legal document, Belgian officials 
will usually do so at no cost or for a nominal sum.  Please verify the 
policy of the consular office used regarding this matter. 
Belgian Export Controls: 
Belgian controls apply to the export and reexport of military 
(conventional weapons) and dual-use items, as well as materials for 
weapons of mass destruction.  Belgian companies send all applications 
for export and reexport to the Office of Quotas and Licenses in the 
Ministry of Economic Affairs.  At that point, the process varies 
depending on whether the export is a conventional weapon/dual use item 
or a nuclear-related item.   

If the item is a conventional weapon or dual use item, the Office of 
Quotas and Licenses will first determine whether, based on law and its 
experience, it will approve the item for export.  If the Office makes a 
positive determination, it then sends the request for further approval 
to one of two federal ministers depending on the location of the Belgian 
company involved in the export.  Export licenses for Flemish companies 
are sent for approval to Foreign Minister, Willy Claes, while Walloon 
company export licenses are sent for approval to Minister of Foreign 
Trade, Robert Urbain.  Once approved or disapproved by the respective 
ministry, the applications are returned to the Office for final 
If the item is nuclear or nuclear-related, the application must be 
approved (or disapproved) by the Minister of Economic Affairs, after 
consultation with and advice from the National NonProliferation Board.  
The Board consists of representatives of five federal ministries, 
including Trade, Foreign Affairs, Health, Energy, and Economic Affairs. 
As a member of the European Union and Cocom, Belgium follows the common 
regime and applies the proscribed lists.  As the Cocom regime is 
replaced and new lists developed, both by Cocom's successor and the EU, 
Belgium will utilize those lists to apply the export control procedures 
outlined above. 
There are likely to be new customs regulations and policies of the EU 
which will come into effect as a result of the Maastricht Treaty, 
implementation of a common EU export control regime, and implementation 
by Belgium of the so-called ecotaxes.  American exporters should always 
consult a reputable freight forwarder who will be knowledgeable of 
recent changes in documentation requirements. 
Until recently, each EU country individually regulated its domestic 
industries for packaging and labeling.  As part of the EU's 1992 single 
internal market program, the EU is now attempting to remove technical 
barriers by harmonizing existing European legislation and establishing 
new rules, where necessary, so that goods sold in one EU country can be 
marketed easily in any other EU country.  However, differences still 
exist from country to country.  In addition, national requirements exist 
side by side with EU-wide requirements.  Following is a review of 
packaging and labeling regulations in Belgium affecting U.S. exporters.  
The review covers both national and EU-wide aspects of packaging and 
labeling in Belgium.  End summary 
What Language to Use: 
Probably the most often asked question regarding packaging and labeling 
in Belgium is, "what language am I required to use?"  Belgium recognizes 
three official languages: Flemish (Dutch), French, and German.  The 
prevailing Belgian law is simply that the consumers of the targeted 
market must be able to read the product information.  Typically, this 
has been Dutch (Flemish) in the northern half of Belgium (Flanders), 
French in the southern half of Belgium (Wallonia), and German in two 
small communities of German speaking Belgians on the Belgian border with 
Germany.  Generally, both Flemish and French appear on all products sold 
in the Belgian market and should be considered the most judicious option 
for a newcomer to the Belgian market.  The language requirement is 
enforced rather liberally.  According to the director of the Belgian 
Packing Institute, a judge in the Flemish city of Mechelen ruled in 
favor of a German company which refused to label its product in Flemish 
as he deemed the local populace to be well versed in the understanding 
of German. 
Marking and Other Requirements: 
With only minor exceptions, there are no general requirements for 
marking imported goods with the country of origin.  Requirements for 
specific products should be obtained from the importer.  Imports of 
certain commodities, including numerous food stuffs, are subject to 
special regulations regarding the manner in which they must, be labeled 
to show manufacturer, composition, content (in metric units), and 
country of origin.  These special regulations relate largely to health 
and quality standards, are highly detailed and diverse, and are embodied 
in formal legislation and directives of Belgium.  In view of the 
complexity of this field, information should be requested from the 
importer prior to shipment. 
Belgium's Ecotaxes: 
Harmonizing a company's packaging to conform with Belgian environmental 
law is another very important consideration.  The Belgian government has 
recently brought into law a set of "ecotaxes."  These taxes are new 
measures that the "greens" have proposed to protect the environment.  
These taxes affect several types of disposable products, as well as 
certain chemical and industrial products.  As proposed, the law was to 
have come into effect after the first of January, 1994 for many products 
and then at various times over the next four years for the remaining 
products.  However, the government has delayed the implementation of 
various parts of the law.  While this gives U.S. exporters additional 
time to meet the requirements of the ecotaxes, it only postpones the 
requirement in most cases to the beginning of 1996.       
The proposed ecotaxes are a set of variable rate taxes levied upon 
products such as disposable drink containers, disposable razors, 
disposable cameras, disposable batteries, industrial containers, 
pesticides, and herbicides.  The taxes are levied on products put into 
consumption in proportion to the damage they are deemed to cause the 
environment.  The national government is responsible for collecting the 
taxes, but will not benefit from the revenues.  These revenues will be 
divided among the regional governments in proportion to their respective 
populations.  This money is intended to help finance environmental 
programs which the regions are taking over from the national government. 
Specifically, bottles and cans of beer, sparkling water, mineral water, 
lemonades, non-alcoholic drinks, and colas are among the first to be 
affected by the taxes.  According to the law, reusable and deposit 
bottles, and non-reusable and recyclable containers will be subject to a 
15 BF/liter tax (0.52 Dollars/liter) with a 7 BF minimum per packing 
(0.24 Dollars/minimum) if the container is at least 50 centiliters.  
Containers less than 50 centiliters are subject to a 3.5 BF (0.12 
Dollars) tax.  PVC (polyvinyl-chloride containers) will be affected at 
the same rates at a date still to be determined by the Advisory 
Committee on the ecotaxes.  Recyclable and reusable containers are 
exempt from the tax if 80 percent of the glass, aluminum, and tinplate 
and 70 percent of the plastic is collected and recycled at the expense 
of the suppliers.  Reuse is defined as being refilled at least seven 
times and the packing must be designed to be used again and again.  
Containers for other drinks, such as wines, non-alcoholic wines, fruit 
juices, vegetable juices, alcoholic drinks, milk, and dairy products 
will be subject to the same rates effective December 31, 1997 at the 
latest.  Items on the deposit-return system should bear a clearly 
visible mark indicating that a deposit will be required.  The conditions 
for this mark will be determined by royal decree.  The effective date 
for the initial application of the ecotax on bottles and cans was to 
have been December 31, 1994, delayed to June 1, 1995, and now delayed 
until the government elected in May 1995 has had time to evaluate the 
economic impact of such taxes, probably by the end of 1995.  The 
effective date is currently January 1, 1996. 
An ecotax of 10 BF per disposable razor took effect on January 31, 1994.  
A tax of 300 BF on throw-away cameras took effect on July 1, 1994.  A 20 
BF tax on throw away batteries or a deposit of 10 BF per battery will 
take effect on a date still to be established by the Advisory Committee.  
Like the ecotax on bottles, this tax has been delayed twice with the 
implementation date now being January 1, 1996.  The Advisory Committee 
is also charged with setting the dates of implementation of ecotaxes on 
glues, pesticides, paper, and solvents.  This was to have been done by 
December 31, 1994, but has also been referred to the new government 
which took power in May 1995.  Pesticides will be exempt from the taxes 
provided that no substitute exists which is more ecologically friendly. 
Ecotaxes on packaging materials were scheduled to take effect March 1, 
1995, though they too are now subject to review by the Advisory 
Committee which has yet to render a decision.  Lastly, certain papers 
and cartons are to be subject to ecotaxes on January 1, 1996.  The 
Advisory Committee is continuing to debate whether it is scientifically 
possible to determine the recycled fiber and chlorine content of such 
materials in order to properly apply the taxes. 
Industry is continuing to lobby against the taxes for several reasons.  
Although the main associations representing affected industries claim 
not to disagree with the primary objectives of the green parties, they 
do claim that the ecotaxes, in their current form, are discriminatory to 
certain industries which are relatively minor contributors to overall 
environmental problems.  Industry also believes that there could be 
significant economic fallout due to the severity of the taxes in a few 
areas.  Estimates of the economic costs of the implementation of the 
ecotaxes are mostly regarded as conjecture at this point, with the 
greens convinced that new industries, such as recycling, will spring up 
and compensate for job loss elsewhere.  Industry has argued that 
voluntary systems based on deposits are preferable to taxation.  In 
response to industry complaints, especially from the chemical (PVC) 
industry, the government established the Advisory Committee to examine 
the potential impact of the ecotaxes on inflation, domestic markets, and 
unemployment in Belgium.  Based on this Committee's recommendations, due 
now by the end of 1995, the ecotax law and its components will likely be 
amended further.     

In any event, U.S. exporters should consult regularly with their Belgian 
importers, agents, and distributors for details of the taxes and their 
effects on the cost of certain imported products, as well as the 
timetable for implementation of the taxes. 
European Union requirements: 
Incorporated into the charter of the European Union is a law modeled on 
the U.S. counterpart.  Basically, any specific legislation not ratified 
by the EU will be left to the member countries to implement as they see 
fit.  While recent EU legislation does not conflict with what is being 
brought into law in Belgium, it is important to be aware of impending EU 
regulations as they may override local Belgian laws.   
Recycling, packaging and waste management: 
An EU proposal, which recently published in the Official Journal (c 263; 
Oct. 12, 1992) and adopted in early 1995, has two objectives:  first, to 
harmonize European packaging standards and symbols to facilitate the 
free flow of goods within the community and second, to maximize the 
environmental benefits of various national waste management systems, by 
increasing the level of coordination among them.  To attain these 
objectives, the Directive establishes: 
-  recovery and recycling targets; 
-  requirements and conformity symbols for packaging; and 
-  broad criteria for national waste management systems. 
The Directive is based on a prevention-first, recovery-second, and 
disposal-last approach.  It mandates that, within 5 years after the 
passage of the directive, the EU member states must recover (defined to 
include recycling, composting, and waste-to energy recovery) a minimum 
of 50% by weight of all packaging waste, with at least 25% recycled.  
More important, the Directive sets maximum targets for recovery of 65% 
and 45% for recycling.   
While U.S. exporters need not be concerned with the technicalities of 
the disposal methods, it is important that their products are not biased 
unfavorably by the legislation.  The EU Directive specifies that, "these 
systems shall ensure the coverage of imported products under non-
discriminatory conditions and shall be designed in such a way that there 
are no barriers to trade or distortion of competition."  Regarding the 
obligation to take the packaging back, the EU Directive puts the onus on 
the waste management system, not specifically on manufacturers as is 
currently the case in Germany.  In that respect, the U.S. Commerce 
Department has been assured repeatedly by EU officials that U.S. 
exporters would not be required to take the packaging waste back to the 
United States.  This would be consistent with the EU's "proximity 
Electronic Waste: 
The European Union is in the very preliminary stages of considering 
whether to draft legislation in the field of electronic waste.  As with 
waste legislation in other areas, notably packaging, the impetus for the 
commission's initiative has come from existing or proposed, member state 
legislation.  It appears that this will again be true in the electronic 
waste sector. 
The Commission of the European Union has published the first ecological 
criteria for the award of the eco-label for washing machines, 
dishwashers, paper towels, toilet paper and soil improvers, as well as 
other materials designed to help applicants.  The eco-label scheme, 
which is voluntary, will apply to all products except food, drink and 
pharmaceuticals.  Council regulation no. 880/92 on a community eco-label 
award scheme provides for the establishment of ecological criteria for 
specific product groups to enable verification of the reduced 
environmental impact of qualifying products, based on analysis of the 
life cycle for the product, from manufacturing (including choice of raw 
materials) through distribution, consumption and use, to disposal after 
use.  The regulations require member states to designate competent 
bodies to assess applications for the eco-label based on these criteria.  
Manufacturers or importers in the community may apply for an eco-label 
only to the competent body or bodies designated by the member state in 
which the product is manufactured or first marketed, or into which the 
product is imported from outside the EU.  At an unspecified date in the 
future, markings will have to be displayed to indicate the reusability 
or recyclability of the package, while voluntary markings could be used 
by manufacturers to indicate the nature and the percentage of recycled 
material of the packaging.  While voluntary, eco-labels may become 
important marketing tools to consumers as well as a de minimis 
requirement demanded by EU importers and end users, including consumers, 
of American products.  Products, which may benefit from the eco-label, 
include textiles, detergents, dishwashing agents, cleaning agents, 
paints and varnishes, batteries, shampoos, packaging, refrigerators and 
freezers, tiles, shoes, cat litter, light bulbs and hairsprays. 
The CE mark in the European Union: 
It is important to note here that products complying with EU 
harmonization directives will be required to affix a CE mark to the 
product (or its packaging, under certain circumstances) to signify that 
the product complies with all relevant EU legal requirements specified 
in the directives.  The CE mark signifies to member state customs and 
enforcement officials that the product complies with EU legal 
requirements.  CE marking is currently mandatory for the following 
product categories in the EU: toys, telecommunications terminal 
equipment, construction machinery and simple pressure vessels as 
European standards and approval bodies have been designated for these 
sectors.  Products bearing the CE mark are guaranteed free circulation 
within the EU market.  CE marking does not necessarily eliminate the 
commercial need for a manufacturer to obtain other marks for his 
product, which may be recognized or expected by purchaser.  These 
include performance marks, product or process quality marks, and marks 
indicating environmental friendliness or recyclability.  The need for 
additional marks may be specified by a buyer in a contract, or may 
simply be a generally accepted marketing practice in a particular 
country or region. 
Contact Information: 
For more information on Belgian and EU-wide packaging and labeling laws, 
following are key contacts in the United States and Belgium: 
In the United States: 
a. Office of European Community Affairs 
   U.S. Dept. of Commerce 
   Kirsten Bergstrom or Lori Cooper  
   Tel: (202) 482-5276 
   Fax: (202) 482-5270 
b. National Institute of Standards and Certification 
   Joanne Overman or Maureen Breitenberg 
   Tel: (301) 975-4040 
   Fax: (301) 975-2128 
c. U.S. Trade Representative for Europe and the Mediterranean 
   Chris Marcich 
   Tel: (202) 395-3020 
   Fax: (202) 395-3911 
d. Director, Technical Trade Barriers 
   Suzanne Troje 
   Tel: (202) 395-3063 
   Fax: (202) 395-3911 
e. Office of Belgium 
   U.S. Dept. of Commerce  
   Elena Mikalis 
   Tel: (202) 482-6008 
   Fax: (202) 482-2897 
In Belgium: 
f. Commercial Section 
   U.S. Embassy 
   Terrance Flannery 
   Tel: (322) 508-2425 
   Fax: (322) 512-6653 
g. U.S. Mission to the EU 
   Peggy Keshishian 
   Tel: (322) 508-2755 
   Fax: (322) 513-1228 
The Importance of ISO 9000 in Selling to Europe: 
Simply put, ISO 9000 (EN 29000 in Europe; ANSI/ASQC Q 90 System in the 
U.S.) defines the basics of a quality system for manufacturing, 
including documentation, controls, and worker training.  Its aim is to 
ensure that a manufacturer's product is the same no matter when a sample 
is taken off the production line.  In other words, ISO 9000 is designed 
to ensure a consistent level of product quality.  ISO 9000 standards are 
unlike engineering standards, which contain units of measurement, test 
methods, and specifications.  Rather, ISO 9000 standards encompass 
certain generic management practices designed to bring benefit to both 
producer and end user. 
In today's marketplace, quality is a competitive advantage.  According 
to 1993 statistics, some 50,000 EU companies now have some form of ISO 
9000 registration.  While voluntary, European manufacturers are 
increasingly requesting that their suppliers be ISO 9000 registered.  In 
addition, more and more European importers are making the same request 
of their European and American suppliers.  The ISO 9000 registration and 
process are not cheap and market demand for registration varies across 
product and service sectors.  ISO 9000 registration also does not 
guarantee quality since it is more concerned with consistency than 
actual product quality.  It also does not ensure that a U.S. product 
will meet various standards incorporated into EU directives covering a 
host of products.  Nonetheless, like the eco-label, ISO 9000 
registration may become a de minimis requirement to do business in the 
Europe of the year 2000. 
Product and Technical Standards: 
As alluded to in the foregoing section, there are a number of EU-wide 
and member-state standards governing various product categories, as well 
as standards in health and safety which cut across a number of product 
categories.  It would take a small book to describe all of these 
standards.  When considering the Belgian and broader European market, a 
U.S. company needs to ask what, if any, mandatory product standards 
apply to its products or services.  An importer is probably the best 
source for this information, at least in the initial inquiry stages.  
The U.S. Mission to the EU can also help at the following contact point: 
U.S. Mission to the EU 
Peggy Keshishian 
Tel: (322) 508-2425 
Fax: (322) 513-1228 
In Belgium, information on product standards can be obtained from: 
Mr. P. Croon 
Belgian Standards Institute 
Avenue de la Brabançonne 29 
1040 Brussels 
Tel: 32/2/734-9205 
Fax: 32/2/733-4264 
Belgium maintains an excellent and open trading climate for U.S. 
companies, with government leaders, overall, at all levels very 
supportive of free trade.  That does not, however, always translate into 
a commercial environment easy for U.S. companies to understand or 
operate in, and American companies do sometimes encounter trade 
problems.  Those problems often result from the Belgian penchant to 
compromise and avoid confrontation.  They also sometimes result from the 
unclear division of responsibilities among local, regional, and federal 
authorities.  This lack of clear responsibility can lead to bureaucratic 
delays and inaction.  It can also lead to inconsistent legislation and 
Major trade barriers 
1)  Government procurement of goods and services 
The EU has adopted several directives covering public supplies and 
public works, as well as the sectors of energy, water, 
telecommunications, and transport (the so-called "utilities" or 
"excluded sectors" directive).  However, Belgium's implementation of 
these directives has been slow and incomplete.  Belgian public 
procurement is still characterized by
-poor public notification and procedural enforcement; 
-requirements of offsets in military procurement; 
-an unofficial "buy local" policy; and 
-nontransparency throughout the procurement process. 
In 1994, the government implemented a new law on government procurement 
to bring Belgian legislation into conformity with European Union 
directives.  The revision has incorporated some of the onerous 
provisions of EU legislation, while improving certain aspects of 
government procurement at the various governmental levels in Belgium.  
The new law can only be evaluated over time and its benefits will be 
heavily influenced by the way it is interpreted and implemented in 
2)  Ecotaxes and Environmental Regulation 
The Belgian government has passed a series of ecotaxes, in order to 
redirect consumer buying patterns away from environmentally damaging 
materials (as defined by the "Green" parties, which supported the 
government coalition's efforts to revise the constitution and create a 
federal state.)  These taxes will possibly raise costs for U.S. 
exporters, as U.S. companies selling into the Belgian market adapt to 
the phased-in implementation of these taxes.  Environmental regulations 
in general are further complicated by the fact that various central 
government powers over the environment are being devolved to the three 
regions of Belgium.  We are beginning to see inconsistent enforcement of 
environment regulations among the regions, which may lead to a less 
favorable trading climate for U.S. business in some parts of the 
3)  Cattle growth hormone ban 
The EU bans imports of U.S. hormone-treated beef and all high-value 
products containing hormone-treated meat.  This has led to the loss of 
U.S. agricultural sales in member states of the EU, including in 
1.  Openness to Foreign Investment: 
Belgium has traditionally maintained an open economy, highly dependent 
on imported inputs and international trade for its well-being.  Since 
World War II, foreign investment has played a vital part in the Belgian 
economy, providing much technology and employment.  Given the importance 
of trade and investment, Belgium generally discourages protectionism.  
The government actively encourages foreign investment on a national 
treatment basis.  Foreign corporations in Belgium account for about one-
third of the top 3,100 corporations. 
With a U.S. direct investment position of $11.6 billion at the end of 
1993, more than 1,300 U.S. companies are present, ranging from offices 
with one person to firms with thousands of employees.  U.S. companies 
give employment to some five percent of the active population, and other 
foreign firms another four percent.  Over the past ten years, all new 
foreign investments accounted for some 9,700 projects.  According to 
statistics from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, foreign investment in 
Belgium is concentrated mostly in manufacturing (45 percent), oil (21 
percent), and chemicals (13 percent).  Foreign companies investing in 
Belgium are generally eligible for the same tax-related investment 
incentives and subject to the same accounting requirements as domestic 
Both the federal and regional governments actively encourage foreign 
investment (in the wake of Belgian constitutional reform, most foreign 
investment questions are handled by the regions).  Any foreign company 
wishing to engage in trade or manufacture in Belgium can set up a 
subsidiary or branch.  Belgian nationals are not required to own part of 
the equity of the enterprise, and the repatriation of capital and 
profits is unrestricted.  Any form of incorporation may be chosen, 
though the "Société Anonyme"/"Naamloze Vennootschap" is the basic type 
of public limited liability company and usually the most suitable for 
the subsidiary of a foreign company.   
2.  Investment Barriers: 
Certain restrictive rules apply to all investors.  Belgian and foreign 
investors alike must obtain special permission to open department 
stores, provide transportation, produce and sell certain food items, cut 
and polish diamonds, and sell firearms and ammunition.  Foreign 
interests may enter into joint ventures and partnerships on the same 
basis as domestic parties, except for certain professions such as 
doctors, lawyers and architects.  Most companies are required to report 
price changes to the Ministry of Economic Affairs. 
Despite the good foreign investment climate, members of the American 
Chamber of Commerce Board have recently noted several continuing 
concerns:  The tendency for tax rates to rise and/or vary as Belgium 
seeks to reduce its public sector deficit, apparently arbitrary 
definitions and interpretations by tax authorities, overly long periods 
before spouses of foreign executives can receive residence visas, poor 
service provided by the state-owned telecommunications firm, and 
difficulties in coordinating the sometimes conflicting requirements of 
federal, regional, and local authorities.   
Takeover legislation 
The Belgian Parliament adopted a new takeover law on March 2, 1989, 
which required all owners of at least five percent of a corporation's 
total voting stock to notify both the Ministry of Economic Affairs and 
the Banking and Finance Commission (Belgium's equivalent of the U.S. 
Securities and Exchange Commission).  For each additional ownership 
increment of five percentage points, further disclosures are required.  
In exchange for this enhanced protection against raiders, all companies 
listed on the Brussels Stock Exchange are required to provide detailed 
information on their corporate ownership structure to the Banking and 
Finance Commission.  In case of a takeover or a public offer, a company 
must deposit a file with the Banking and Finance Commission stating its 
own financial credentials and the details of the deal.  Under EU law, 
very large mergers ($3 billion from 1993 onwards) must also be approved 
by the EU Commission (DG IV, the Directorate General for Competition 
Policy).  Belgian corporate legislation was changed in 1990 to prevent 
golden parachutes as well as poison pills and other techniques used to 
block corporate raiders. 
A more stringent bill requiring the screening of foreign investment in 
strategic sectors (mainly the energy sector) failed to pass in 1990.  
The only current potential screening is found in the law of April 20, 
1991, regarding the structure of public sector firms, which stipulates 
that any takeover must be approved by the majority shareholder, i.e., 
the Government of Belgium. 
Sectoral/geographic limits 
There are no sectoral or geographic limitations specifically on foreign 
investment.  Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia, the three regions in 
Belgium, actively compete with each other to attract new investment 
projects.  At present, railways, most telephone services, and civil 
aviation systems are state-operated and closed to private competition.  
The government, however, has begun a program of selective privatization.  
Several small financial institutions have been privatized, and further 
privatization of the state telecommunications firm is expected in 1995.  
Preferences in the form of more lucrative incentives exist for certain 
economically depressed areas and for particular sectors, especially high 
tech.  No restrictions limit investment to certain geographic areas or 
3.  Conversion and Transfer Policies: 
The Belgian Government encourages reinvestment of profits but does not 
impose barriers to the repatriation of earnings or capital.  On March 1, 
1990, Belgium abolished its two-tiered exchange rate system.  Residents 
may undertake foreign exchange operations freely, subject to reports for 
statistical purposes.  Non-residents may use any currency to invest in 
Belgium and may repatriate funds in any currency that is traded on the 
free market.  The Belgo-Luxembourg Exchange Institute (BLEI) exercises 
control over exchange transactions. 
A flat tax rate exists for corporations, but manufacturing and service 
corporations' taxable income under BF 13 million is taxed at a reduced 
rate.  Corporations are taxed on income at a standard rate of 39 percent 
and a reduced rate ranging from 29 percent to 37 percent depending on 
income (various academic studies demonstrate that after deductions the 
effective corporate tax rate equals about 28 percent).  Branches of 
foreign offices are taxed on total profits at a rate of 43 percent, or a 
lower rate in accordance with the provisions contained in a double 
taxation treaty.  Under the present bilateral treaty between Belgium and 
the United States, that rate is 39 percent. 
Taxable income is defined as operating profits, inventory valuation, 
capital gains, and exchange differences.  Tax deductions are given for 
depreciation and interest payments. 
Personal Income Taxes 
Belgian residents are taxed on their worldwide income.  Non-residents 
are subject to taxes on income earned and collected in Belgium.  Capital 
gains and investment income received outside the country are not taxable 
for non-residents working in Belgium.  Tax rates for personal income 
range from 25 to 55 percent. 
Indirect Taxes 
A Value Added Tax (VAT) is charged on the sale of all goods and services 
within Belgium.  The standard VAT rate in Belgium is 20.5 percent.  A 
reduced rate of six percent is applied to basic necessities, with an 
intermediate rate of 12 percent on some commodities. 
Other payments include social security contributions and a tax on 
interest income which was reduced from 25 to 10 percent in March 1990.  
The tax on dividends is still 25 percent for residents. 
The United States and Belgium have negotiated a treaty avoiding double 
taxation for U.S. companies operating in Belgium.  This treaty provides 
for a special reciprocal reduction of the withholding rate on corporate 
dividends and royalties of five percent rather than a level of 15 
percent.  Interests paid to U.S. companies are taxed at 10 percent.   
A tax circular for expatriate executives and research staff covers the 
Belgian tax status for several categories of expatriates temporarily 
residing in Belgium.  Known as the "Circular Regime", it grants certain 
major exemptions from Belgian taxation and has been considered generally 
satisfactory by the American business community in Belgium. 
Social Security Agreement 
In July 1984, a Social Security Agreement between the United States and 
Belgium entered into force.  This agreement is known as a social 
security totalization agreement which applies to citizens of each 
country working in the other country.  In short, the agreement allows 
such workers to be eligible for monthly retirement, disability, or 
survivors benefits under the social security system of one or both 
countries.  It also ensures that workers are not required to pay social 
security taxes in both countries on the same earnings.  Details on the 
application of the agreement to a particular situation should be 
obtained from the Social Security Administration, OIO-Totalization, P.O. 
Box 17049, Baltimore, MD 21235.  The U.S. Embassy in Brussels can also 
provide a list of lawyers in Belgium specializing in helping Belgian and 
American citizens understand and benefit from the agreement. 
With respect to discriminatory or preferential export and import 
policies, Belgium's practices track with those established by the 
European Union.  Import price controls do not exist.  There are no 
export duties or taxes.   
Belgium, like all other EU-member states, is implementing the EU's 
Second Banking Directive, as well as the Fourth Investment Directive 
(regulating the insurance sector).  Under the EU program for financial 
integration, subsidiaries of financial institutions headquartered in 
other member states will continue to be governed by the principle of 
national treatment.  As a result, such subsidiaries will be treated in 
the same manner as other incorporated entities in the host state.  For 
example, a German banking subsidiary of a U.K. bank could set up 
branches throughout the Union under German rules with respect to 
permissible activities. 
4.  Expropriation and Compensation/Dispute Settlement: 
There are no outstanding expropriation/nationalization cases in Belgium 
with U.S. investors.  There is, however, one major continuing investment 
dispute of which the Embassy is aware:   
-- In 1988 W.R. Grace company decided to accept $7 million in investment 
subsidies from the Flemish Regional Government and place its production 
unit for silicon dioxide and hydrogen fluoride in Belgium.  Construction 
was completed in 1991 on a project valued at over $100 million.  The 
Grace unit was located adjacent to the Prayon-Rupel phosphoric acid 
facility because that plant was both a source of the sulfuric acid used 
in the Grace process and was a consumer of the diluted sulfuric acid 
that was a by-product of the Grace operation.  The Prayon-Rupel 
phosphoric acid operation in turn depended on its ability to dispose of 
the gypsum it generated in authorized disposal sites.  After initially 
granting a disposal license for gypsum to Prayon-Rupel, in 1992 the 
Flemish Regional Government reversed its decision leaving Prayon-Rupel 
without an authorized disposal site and unable to continue its 
production relationship with the Grace unit.  Grace then decided to shut 
down its production unit.  Grace regards the Flemish Government's 
decision a breach of promise and is seeking compensation in Belgian 
courts.  An initial court decision went against Grace, but the matter 
has still not been finally resolved.   
There is, however, no pattern of discrimination against foreign 
investment in Belgium.  Belgium is a member of the International Center 
for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and regularly includes 
provision for ICSID arbitration in investment agreements. 
5.  Investment Incentives and Performance Requirements: 
Starting with the law of August 1980 on Regional Devolution in Belgium, 
the budgets for investment incentives were devolved to Belgium's three 
regions:  Flanders, Brussels, and Wallonia.  Tax measures designed to 
attract new investment, however, remain the privilege of the Federal 
Government.  In general, all incentives, regional or national, are 
available to foreign and domestic investors alike.  Belgian investment 
incentive programs at all levels of government seem likely to shrink in 
the next several years as pressures to limit them from the European 
Union and from declining national and regional budget resources 
intensify.  The EU Commission believes that investment incentives 
distort the single market, impair structural change, and threaten EU 
convergence and social and economic cohesion.  Belgium has historically 
been near the top of the EU in providing state aids including investment 
Under Belgium's new federal state, the three regional governments will 
administer most kinds of investment incentives, and the federal 
government will retain little control.  The regions will put new 
emphasis on meeting more generalized objectives such as promoting 
innovation, research and development, energy saving, environmental 
cleanliness, exports, and most of all, employment.  Given the changing 
nature of investment incentives offered by the three regions, interested 
parties should contact the relevant regional investment 
companies/authorities, as follows: 
(1)  Regional Office for Foreign Investment for Brussels, 25 Rue du 
Champ de Mars, 1050 Brussels, Tel: 32/2/513-9700, Fax: 32/2/511-5255; 
(2)  Flanders' Investment Office, Markiesstraat 1, 1000 Brussels, Tel: 
32/2/507-3852, Fax: 32/2/507-3851; 
(3)  Regional Investment Company for Wallonia (S.R.I.W.), Rue Mazy 25-
27, 5100 Namur (Jambes), tel: 32/81/33-1211, Fax: 32/81/33-1299. 
The Federal Government also provides investment-related information at 
the following address:   
Ministry of Economic Affairs, Foreign Investors Service,  
Square de Meeus 23, 1040 Brussels, Tel: 32/2/506.54.11 
Fax: 32/2/514.03.89. 
As part of an ongoing effort to assist the potential foreign investor, 
the American Chamber of Commerce in Belgium runs an Investment Referral 
Service which provides information on investment-related questions, 
including the investment incentives available throughout Belgium.  The 
investor may contact the Chamber directly at 50 Avenue des Arts, Box 5, 
1040 Brussels or via fax at (32) (2) 513-7928.  Please request their 
Investor Referral Service. 
Federal programs 
Notwithstanding the devolution of investment subsidies to the three 
regions, the Federal Government still controls the important policy 
variable of tax deductions for certain types of investment:  development 
zones, new venture capital companies, coordination centers, and 
distribution centers. 
Coordination Centers 
Coordination centers serve companies of an international group.  A 
center consists of affiliated companies maintaining at least a 20 
percent direct or indirect participation in one or more other companies 
under common agreement.  Coordination centers are granted special tax 
status for a period of 10 years.  They can be established as branches of 
foreign companies or as Belgian stockholding companies and can be 
located anywhere in Belgium.  During the 10-year period, recognized 
coordination centers are taxed on notional income calculated as between 
8 and 12 percent of a center's incurred expenses.  Salary costs and 
financing expenses are disregarded in determining the amount of expenses 
to which the percentage is applied.  Coordination centers are also 
exempt from real estate taxes, withholding taxes on dividends, 
withholding taxes on interest, and registration taxes.  About 350 
coordination centers are now active in Belgium, many of them American-
Development zones 
High-tech investments in depressed areas of the country are eligible for 
a 10-year tax holiday and certain exemptions concerning the personal 
income taxation of their foreign executives.  High technology investment 
is specifically defined to include advanced data processing, software 
technology, micro-electronics including optro-electronics, office 
automation, robotics, telecommunications and bio-engineering.  An 
enterprise qualifying under this scheme must employ between 20 and 200 
people and have its entire operation within the development zone. 
Distribution centers 
Belgian tax authorities have also established special corporate tax 
rules for foreign companies which establish a distribution center in 
Belgium if certain conditions are met.  The newly established 
distribution center may operate as a branch of a foreign company or a 
Belgian subsidiary.  No specific rules apply to minimum employment or 
turnover, in contrast with such rules for coordination centers.  
Qualifying distribution centers can realize significant tax savings.  
After strong representations from the Embassy and the American Chamber 
of Commerce, the Federal Government decided in 1994 to expand the scope 
of distribution centers in Belgium significantly which should sharply 
increase their appeal.  The modified rules apply to existing as well as 
new distribution centers.   
No performance requirements are applicable to foreign investors, nor 
does it appear likely that the government will establish such 
6.  Right to Private Ownership and Establishment: 
No restrictions in Belgium apply specifically to foreign investors.  All 
investors, Belgian or foreign, must obtain special permission to open 
department stores, provide transportation, produce and sell certain food 
items, cut and polish diamonds, and sell firearms and ammunition. 
7.  Protection of Property Rights: 
The rights granted under U.S. patent, trademark, or copyright law can be 
enforced in the United States, its territories and possessions only.  
The EU, for its part, has taken a number of initiatives to provide 
intellectual property protection, but not all measures haven been 
implemented.  In cases of non-implementation, national laws still 
Belgium is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization 
(WIPO) and the European Patent Convention (EPC).  A single European 
patent, valid throughout the EU, does not yet exist since the community 
patent convention has not yet come into force.  In the meantime, the 
patent applicant can choose between a national and a multiple-country 
patent.  In the latter case, a single application to the European Patent 
Office in Munich (European Patent Office, Erhardstrasse 27, D-80331 
Muenchen, Germany, Tel:  49-89-23990, Fax:  49-89-23992850) is required 
for obtaining patents valid in a number of countries within the EU, as 
well as Liechtenstein, Monaco, and Switzerland.  A patent thus granted 
will not be valid in Belgium unless a copy of the grant in one of 
Belgium's three national languages is filed with the Belgian Office of 
Industrial Property described below.   
To obtain a national patent in Belgium, the inventor or his assignee 
must file a request with the Office of Industrial Property in the 
Ministry of Economic Affairs.  After a search of the European Patent 
Office in Munich, if requested by the inventor, the Belgian government 
will issue the patent without guarantee of patentability.  National 
patents are valid for twenty years if a search has occurred.  If not, 
the validity is reduced to six years.  Once granted, the patent is 
registered with the Register of Patents, again located in the Ministry 
of Economic Affairs.   
The EU Trademark Office still needs to be established in Alicante, 
Spain, and the first EU trademark registrations are not expected until 
mid-1996.  (Applications will be accepted beginning January 1, 1996.)  
In the meantime, trademark registration is handled on a national basis.  
Trademarks in Belgium are regulated by the Uniform Benelux Law of 1962, 
which offers protection in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.  An 
application for trademark can be filed either with the Belgian National 
Office in the Ministry of Economic Affairs or with the Benelux Trade 
Mark Bureau located in The Netherlands (Bankastraat 51, The Hague).  A 
search is required to ascertain the existence of a similar or identical 
trademark for the same category of product.  If granted, protection 
lasts for ten years from the date of application and can be renewed for 
further periods of ten years each.  Trademarks must generally be used 
within three years of registration.   
Belgium is a member of the Berne Convention and the Universal Copyright 
Convention of Geneva.  As a member of the UCC, to which the U.S. and 50 
other countries belong, Belgium accords authors automatic copyright 
protection when registered with this organization.  Protection exists 
for the life of the author, plus 50 years after death.  In addition, 
Belgium has passed a revised copyright law which brings Belgian practice 
into conformity with existing EU directives.  However, EU directives 
permit some variation in each member state and U.S. firms wishing to 
protect their copyrights in Belgium should consult local legal counsel.  
This is particularly true regarding reciprocity provisions in the new 
8.  Regulatory System:  Laws and Procedures: 
The Belgian Government has adopted a generally transparent policy and 
effective laws to foster competition.  Tax, labor, health, safety and 
other laws and policies to avoid distortions or impediments to the 
efficient mobilization and allocation of investment exist comparable to 
those in other European Union member states.  Nevertheless, foreign and 
domestic investors in large retail operations face stringent regulations 
which protect small- and medium-sized enterprises. 
9.  Efficient Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment: 
Belgium has in place ample policies to facilitate the free flow of 
financial resources.  Credit is allocated at market rates and is 
available to foreign and domestic investors without discrimination.  
Belgium is fully served by the international banking community and is 
implementing all relevant European Union financial directives.   
10.  Political Violence: 
The Embassy is aware of no incidents of politically-motivated damage to 
foreign investments in Belgium in recent years.   
11.  Bilateral Investment Agreements: 
Belgium by itself has bilateral investment treaties with Algeria, 
Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Cyprus, Georgia, Indonesia, Mongolia, 
Paraguay, Uruguay, Viet Nam, and Zaire.  As a partner in the Belgium-
Luxembourg Economic Union (BLEU), it has bilateral investment treaties 
or agreements with Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ceylon, China, Czechoslovakia, 
Egypt, Hungary, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Morocco, Romania, 
Rwanda, Singapore, Tunisia, and Turkey.  Additionally, BLEU agreements 
have been signed but not yet implemented with Bulgaria, Burundi, 
Liberia, Mauritania, Malta, and Thailand.  Belgium and Luxembourg 
together, but outside the BLEU, have also signed investment treaties 
with Poland and Russia.  All these agreements/treaties provide for 
mutual protection of investments. 
12.  OPIC and Other Investment Insurance Programs: 
Belgium, as a developed country, does not qualify for OPIC programs.  
Apparently no investment insurance programs for Belgium are operated by 
other countries. 
13.  Labor: 
Belgian workers are highly unionized (63 percent of the work force), 
highly productive, and usually enjoy high salaries.  At the same time, 
in recent years the unemployment rate as measured according to the EU's 
definition has been stuck at 9-10 percent.  High wage levels and high 
levels of unemployment can coexist because most of Belgium's long-term 
unemployed are virtually unemployable without major retraining---their 
overall educational level is significantly lower than that of the 
general population.  At the same time, a shortage exists for workers 
with training in computer hardware and software, automation and 
marketing.  The resulting bottlenecks cause wage pressures. 
Belgium's comprehensive social security package is composed of five 
major elements:  family allowance, unemployment insurance, retirement, 
medical benefits and a sick leave program which guarantees salary in 
event of illness.  Currently, employer payments to the social security 
system stand at 35.02 percent of salary, while employee contributions 
comprise 13.07 percent.  In addition, many private companies offer 
supplemental programs of medical benefits and retirement. 
Belgian labor unions, while maintaining a national superstructure, are, 
in effect, divided along French and Dutch linguistic lines.  The two 
main confederations, the Confederation of Christian Unions and the 
General Labor Federation of Belgium, maintain close relationships with 
the Christian Democratic and Socialist political parties, respectively.  
They exert a strong influence in the country---politically, socially and 
industrially.  A national bargaining process covers inter-professional 
agreements, which the trade union confederations negotiate biennially 
with the government and the employers' associations.  In addition to 
these negotiations, or occasionally after the failure of talks, the 
unions negotiate further agreements within the various industrial 
Foreign firms, which generally pay well, usually have harmonious labor 
relations.  Nonetheless, problems can occur, particularly in connection 
with the shutting down or restructuring of operations.  Many strikes are 
one-day symbolic actions, but longer industrial actions have occurred.   
Firing a Belgian employee can be extremely expensive.  An employee may 
be dismissed immediately for cause, such as embezzlement or other 
illegal activity, but when a reduction in force occurs, the procedure is 
far more complicated.  For white collar workers, the minimum standard is 
three months' notice or severance pay, or a combination of the two, for 
each five-year period or fraction thereof during which the employee has 
worked for the company.  In the case of blue collar workers, the minimum 
is two weeks notice or the wage equivalent. 
In those instances where the employer and employee cannot agree on the 
amount of severance pay or indemnity, the case is referred to the courts 
for a decision.  To avoid these complications, firms should provide for 
a "trial period" in any employer-employee contract. 
14.  Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports: 
Belgium does not have foreign trade zones or free ports as such.  
Belgian customs regulations, however, provide for the duty-and tax-free 
import of goods which are declared to be in the country temporarily for 
processing and transshipment.  The goods may be stored in public or 
private bonded warehouses which are located throughout the country.  The 
major Belgian seaports---Antwerp, Brugge, Brussels, Ghent, Oostende and 
Zeebrugge---have customs free zones, as does the Brussels International 
Airport at Zaventem.  For more information on this type of operation, a 
U.S. company should contact the American Embassy in Brussels or the 
Ministry of Finance 
Customs Administration  
Rijksadministratief Centrum Bus 37 
Kruidtuinlaan 50 
1010 Brussels 
Contact: Mr. Andre Rombaut 
Tel: 32/2/210.32.35 
Fax: 32/2/210.33.13 
Fax: 32/2/210.32.76  
15.  Capital Outflow Policy: 
Belgium does not restrict capital outflow.  When foreign investment is 
considered to be in the Belgian national interest because it would 
stimulate exports, provide royalty income through technology transfer, 
or help to supply needed imports, the Belgian Corporation for 
International Investment (SBI) may provide assistance.  Subsidiaries of 
foreign companies established in Belgium are eligible for and have 
received SBI aid. 
SBI is 58 percent government owned but financially self-sustaining.  It 
participates in Belgian foreign investment by holding equity shares, 
convertible debentures, or long-term convertible loans in foreign 
undertakings.  SBI activities are not restricted to any geographic area. 
16.  Foreign Direct Investment Statistics: 
     TABLE I 
     1989 - 1992 
     (current millions of dollars) 
                              1989     1990     1991          1992 
Petroleum                       NA       NA       NA            NA 
Manufacturing                  941    1,473    1,225         1,390 
Wholesaling                    588      509      653         1,104 
Banking                       -71       NA       NA            NA 
Finance                         NA     2,059    -80          -158 
Services                        66        NA      80             58 
Other                           47        24       9             91 
Total                        3,972     4,230   3,653          4,066 
Source: United States Department of Commerce, Survey of Current 
Business, July 1993. 
     TABLE II 
     1989 - 1992 
     (current millions of dollars) 
                           1989     1990     1991          1992 
Petroleum                   246      327      294           291 
Manufacturing             4,041    4,331    4,002         5,940 
Wholesaling               1,790    2,177    2,145         1,811 
Banking                     199       NA       NA            NA 
Finance                   1,335    2,059    1,775         2,072 
Services                    295      352      438           502 
Other                        35       NA       NA            NA 
Total                     7,941    9,462    8,830        10,771 
Source: United States Department of Commerce, Survey of Current 
Business, August 1992 
-     Total foreign direct investments - 1991       
     36.67  (U.S.$ billions) (1) 
-     U.S. investments - 1992 
     10.8 (U.S.$ billions) (2) 
-     U.S. investments as a % of total foreign investment - (3) 24.0 % 
-     Principal foreign investors:   
(1) This figure is an extrapolation from the figures which follow.  No 
part of the national or regional governments keeps total investment 
figures.  Therefore, we have extrapolated from known figures in order to 
produce a figure for total investment. 
(2) Survey of Current Business - August 1992.  Based on book value and 
not current asset value. 
(3) Ministry of Economic Affairs.  This percentage probably 
underestimates by a wide margin the actual share of U.S. investment in 
Belgium, since it is based on book value and not on current value.  
Since much U.S. investment in Belgium took place a number of years ago, 
the actual share of total investment based on current value is estimated 
to be closer to 40 percent. 
Overview and Hints: 
Belgium is a country where exports and imports amount to roughly 2/3's 
of GDP.  Consequently, the process of paying for imported goods is well 
understood by banking staffs - even in the smallest regional and local 
branches.  Generally speaking, buyers show a preference for payment by 
cash against documents (CAD), as this is the simplest and least costly 
method.  However, they understand U.S. and transcontinental buyer 
requirements for letters of credit (L/C).  This is often the form of 
payment for U.S. companies beginning to sell to Belgium.  In cases, 
where Belgian importers and their U.S. suppliers have built up mutual 
confidence, letters of credit are superseded by time drafts and 
eventually by CAD terms.  Exceptionally, open account terms; i.e. where 
the importer pays after receipt of the goods, are used. 
Belgian importers are relatively small, with inadequate sources of 
inexpensive capital.  Real rates of interest for working capital loans 
now run more than seven percent, and Belgian importers will ask for the 
most lenient credit terms possible.  In addition, they are accustomed to 
being offered flexible payment terms, mainly from their neighboring 
trading partners, i.e. France, Germany, Holland, U.K., Switzerland, and 
(sometimes) Italy.  Extended payment terms of 30, 60, 90 and even 120 
days are not unusual, though the most common payments terms are net 30 
days.  However, Belgian businesses, like many in Europe, routinely delay 
payment beyond the agreed upon payment terms.  In Belgium, some 43% of 
all payments are not made on time, although 80% of the delayed payments 
are made within another 30 days.  In short, 91% of all payments by 
Belgian businesses are made net 60 days.  This is a better record than 
in Italy or the U.K. and equal to that of France and the Netherlands. 
Since the use of credit is consequently wide-spread, flexible credit 
terms can be important to winning sales contracts in Belgium.  A U.S. 
firm should consider offering such terms, provided he/she is able and 
willing to provide such finance and provided the U.S. company has done a 
full credit check into the bonafides of the Belgian company.  Even then, 
it would probably be wise to try several shipments on a secured credit 
basis before moving to easier terms.  There are several local credit 
agencies available, including Dun and Bradstreet.  Additionally, the 
U.S. Embassy provides such a service via its World Traders Data Reports. 
Import duties and value added tax (vat) are applied to the CIF (cost 
insurance/freight) value of goods.  The rate of import duties is the 
same as that applied by all EU countries.  Since products coming from 
other E.C. members enter Belgium duty free, U.S. products often start 
off with an average 5-6% price disadvantage.  By offering favorable 
credit terms, U.S. suppliers can help their importers offset a portion 
of that higher price. 
There are no foreign exchange regulations or limitations on the transfer 
of capital or profits in Belgium, except in exceptional situations; i.e. 
U.N. sanctions against Iraq, Libya, and Haiti. 
Counter or barter trade, mainly with Eastern European and other 
countries short of foreign exchange, continues to be a recognized 
business practice in Belgium.  Because of its sophistication in 
international trading practices, Belgium is well placed to develop this 
type of business. 
The Belgian financial marketplace is private-sector oriented, and there 
are no government-sponsored institutions for financing imports.  The 
Belgian franc is linked to the Deutsch mark within the EU's Exchange 
Rate Mechanism (ERM).  It has fluctuated widely, as have all other 
currencies, against the U.S. dollar.  The current exchange rate is one 
U.S. dollar equals thirty Belgian francs. 
There are three main trading banks in Belgium:  the General Bank, 
Brussels Bank Lambert and Kredietbank.  Each one of them has a well-
developed correspondent bank network in the U.S., as well as a local 
representative office in at least one major U.S. city.  Because of the 
lack of restrictions, easy tele-electronic communications, and fluent 
use of English, banking relationships with the U.S. and other countries 
are smooth. 
Though Belgium has a very high public debt, 85% of that debt is 
domestically held.  Therefore, there are no foreign exchange problems.  
Moreover, the balance of payments situation is very healthy, and there 
are no problems related to the country's ability to maintain its 
extensive import program. 
Key Banks in Belgium: 
Montagne du Parc, 3 
1000 Brussels 
Tel: 02/516.21.11 
Fax: 02/516.42.22 

Paul-Emmanuel Janssen, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Ferdinand 
Chaffart, Chairman of the General Management Committee and Managing 
Employs: 14,444 in Belgium and the total staff amounts to 22,944; 
consolidated balance sheet: BF 2,318 billion ($64.4 billion). 
This is Belgium's largest bank principally controlled by the powerful 
Société Générale de Belgique holding company.  In fact, it ranks as the 
22nd largest deposit bank in Europe while ranking in the 28th position 
in total assets.  Initially established in 1822, this bank offers - 
through its branch network in Belgium and its overseas establishments - 
to its domestic and international customers, individual or corporate, a 
complete range of financial products and services.  It also heads a 
network of subsidiaries geared to specialized sectors of the financial 
market such as private banking, bank insurance, diamond and vehicle 
finance, the stock exchange, leasing, factoring, venture capital and 
security.  In Belgium it operates through a network of 1100 branches, 
coordinated by 32 regional offices, and divided into 6 areas. 
Avenue Marnix, 24 
1050 Brussels 
Tel: 02/547.24.84 
Fax: 02/547.22.17 

Jacques Moulaert, Chairman of the Board and Daniel Cardon de Lichtbuer, 
President of the Bank. 
Employs: 12,000; consolidated balance sheet: BF 1,993 billion ($55.4 
This bank is the result of the merger of Banque de Bruxelles, founded in 
1871, (formerly ranking second) and Banque Lambert (fourth largest) 
established around 1974.  Belonging to the Group Brussels Lambert 
holding company, BBL (more commonly known) is Belgium's second largest 
private-sector commercial bank.  According to the British periodical 
"The Banker", BBL ranks as the 49th European bank and as the world's 
90th.  BBL provides its services to private individuals, small- and 
medium-sized enterprises, large companies, multinationals, institutional 
investors and public authorities.  Since 1991 its activities have been 
divided into two business groups, personal customers and enterprises and 
professional and international banking. In Belgium it operates through a 
network of 13 district head offices, which are divided into three 
regions under which, in turn,  consist of 965 branches and 200 "self-
Arenbergstraat, 7 
1000 Brussels 
Tel: 02/517.52.62 
Fax: 02/517.51.95 

Edward Wauters, President of the Board and Marcel Cockaerts, President 
of the Management Committee. 
Employs: 11,495; consolidated balance sheet: BF 1,754 billion ($48.7 
Founded in 1935, this is a Flemish area bank, which belongs to the 
Almanij-Kredietbank Group, and has worldwide representatives and 
branches.  Also known as the KB, it controls another bank in Belgium 
called Credit General de Banque, which operates in Wallonia and 
Brussels.  The bank operates a domestic network of more than 800 
branches.  Engaged in international banking, it provides all commercial 
and investment banking services to private customers, companies, public 
and semi-public entities as well as institutions both in Belgium and 
abroad through its 1500 correspondent banks all over the world. 
Boulevard Pacheco, 44 
1000 Brussels 
Tel: 02/222.11.11 
Fax: 02/222.40.32 

Frank Swaelen, Chairman of the Board of Directors and François Narmon, 
Chairman of the Management Committee. 
Employs: 3,751; balance sheet total: BF 2,134 billion BF ($59.3 
Just after 1912, this municipal credit institution created a totally new 
method of financing its short-tern loans, the savings bond.  Today, it 
still continues to develop and constantly improve the savings bond.  
Apart from being the number one credit institution in the savings bond 
area, it is becoming a fully-fledged major bank.   
Avenue des Arts, 35 
1040 Brussels 
Tel: 02/508.82.11 
Fax: 02/508.83.34 

Herve Huas, Managing Director and Chairman of the Management Committee. 
Employs: 1,200; total assets: unknown for Belgium, consolidated with the 
J.P. Morgan & Co. Inc. results.   
Ranking as the 5th largest bank in Belgium, this is a branch of the J.P. 
Morgan & Co. with headquarters in New York City.  The bank offers 
commercial and investment banking services to corporate and 
institutional clients.  In addition to the traditional commercial 
banking services, it offers a variety of specialized services to 
international customers.  Another company of the J.P. Morgan group in 
Belgium is Euroclear, located at Blvd. Emile Jacqmain, which is a 
clearing house for Eurobonds and internationally traded securities. 
Rue du Trone 60 
1050 Brussels 
Tel: 02/504.55.11 
Fax: 02/504.55.39 

Anthony S. Fortunato, Managing Director. 
This is the Belgian subsidiary of Citibank N.A. with headquarters in New 
York City.  Citibank opened its Belgian branch in 1919 at the Grand 
Place.  During the Second World War, this branch was closed but re-
opened in 1962.  As a result of local acquisitions, it now has 60 
branches in Belgium.  Today it is a leading international and domestic 
bank which has relations with most of Belgium's largest industrial and 
trading companies.  This bank also offers specialized services to 
financial institutions, insurance companies and to public sector 
Uitbreidingstraat 180, bus 6 
2600 Antwerp 
Tel: 03/280.42.11 
Fax: 03/239.61.09 
John Hennessy, Senior Vice President and Regional Manager Northern 
This is the Belgian branch of Bank of America N.T. & S.A., with 
headquarters in San Francisco.  This Belgian branch was established in 
1965.  It provides a full range of commercial banking services and has a 
branch office in Brussels:  
Bank of America 
Avenue Louise 480, bte. 5A 
1050 Brussels 
Tel: 02/648-9010 
Fax: 02/648-1191 
Richard Challinor, Director of Brussels Office 
Avenue Louise 326 
1050 Brussels, Belgium 
Tel: 32/2/629-5811 
Fax: 32/2/629-5830 
Mr. F. Verlinden, Vice President 
Avenue Louise 148, Box 2 
1050 Brussels, Belgium 
Tel: 32/2/647-8070 
Fax: 32/2/648-2105 
Mr. Johan Volckaerts, General Manager 
(A division of Citibank) 
Avenue de Tervuren, 249 
1150 Brussels, Belgium 
Tel: 32/2/761-1211 
Fax: 32/2/761-1293 
Mr. Albert May, Vice President 
(A unit of Morgan Guaranty Trust) 
Blvd Emile Jacqmain 151 
1210 Brussels, Belgium 
Tel: 32/2/224-1211 
Fax: 32/2/519-1449 
Mr. Luc Bosmans, Executive Vice President 
Business Customs and Infrastructure: 
The quality of life in Belgium is high.  Belgium is among the top twenty 
countries in the world in terms of per capita income, and most Belgians 
own their own home.  The social security system is one of the best in 
the world and provides for a decent life even for most deprived 
citizens.  The health care system in Belgium is excellent, offering 
affordable care to all Belgians.  Education from kindergarten through 
high school is free of charge and only a small registration fee is 
charged every year for university level studies.  As a rule, three to 
four languages are taught all through high school, and many Belgians are 
fluent in three languages.  Nearly everyone involved in business speaks 
English, usually fluently. 
There are three language communities in Belgium:  The Flemish Community, 
consisting of the population living in Flanders; the French Community, 
consisting of the population of Wallonia, and a small German-speaking 
Community of some 66,000 inhabitants in the far eastern part of the 
One of the major strengths of Belgium is, first and foremost, its 
significant reserve of skilled personnel.  Belgian labor is well 
trained, generally multilingual, and, in spite of a high level of 
unionization, enjoys good labor relations and a well-earned reputation 
for very high productivity. 
Belgians also have the second highest savings rate in the world, 
surpassed only by the Japanese.  This provides a ready source of capital 
for consumption and expenditure and a low level of personal debt.  As 
noted in the commercial overview, Belgians are open to new ideas, 
products, and services.  They value American technology and regard U.S. 
products as being of high quality.  Still, given the vast array of 
foreign products available in Belgium, Belgians will shop for value at 
affordable prices.  Markups in Belgium are generally several times the 
U.S. wholesale price, making consumer goods expensive by comparison to 
U.S. prices. 
Belgian cuisine is among the best in the world.  Taxis and other means 
of public transportation are readily available, and Belgium has good 
communications links with the rest of the world.  Belgium offers an 
extraordinary media diversity with the availability of the broadest 
selection of television channels in Europe.  TV owners currently have 
access to programs broadcast from 7 different countries in Dutch, 
English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian.  CNN is also available on 
cable.  The country is blessed with an intense and varied cultural life 
and is highly regarded for its tolerance of foreign goods and persons, 
and its overall life style and family-oriented values system. 
As a result of our involvement in WWs I and II, Belgians have a very 
positive view of Americans.  Each Memorial Day, many hundreds of 
Belgians attend ceremonies at several sites in Belgium.  Belgians are 
also relatively frank and open in business discussions, making it easy 
for Americans to do business here and in a manner similar to doing 
business at home. 
January 1    New Year 
April 8      Easter Monday 
May 1        Belgian Labor Day 
May 16       Ascension Day 
May 27       Whit Monday 
July 21      Belgian Independence Day  
August 15    Assumption Day 
November 1   All Saints Day 
November 11  Veterans Day 
December 25  Christmas 
A.  Population:  10 million 
B.  Religion:     Roman Catholic (75 percent), Agnostic/Atheist (23 
percent), Other (2 percent) 
C.  Government: Constitutional monarchy with Parliament 
    -         Head of State:  King Albert II 
    -         Head of Govt.:  Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene 
D.  Language:  Dutch (57 percent), French (42 percent), German (1 
E.  Next scheduled election: May 1999. 
                            1993     1994     1995 (e)     1996 (e) 
a.  GDP (current $b)       210.7    228.6    252.4        282.4 
b.  Real GDP growth rate(%) -1.7    +2.2      +2.3         +2.5 
c.  GDP per capita ($)    21,073  22,860    25,240       27,684 
d.  Govt. spending  
as % of GNP                 53.9    53.6      52.5         52.2 
e.  Inflation  
(% change in CPI)            2.8     2.4       1.8          2.6 
f.  Unemployment (%)         9.4    10.1       9.7          9.6 
g.  Foreign exch. 
 reserves ($bn)            21.04   22.08       n/a          n/a 
h.  Average annual exchange      
    rate ($1=BFr.)        34.57    33.43     30.87           29 
i.  Foreign debt ($bn)    43.96    40.36       n/a          n/a 
j.  Unit Labor Costs  
(% change)                  3.2      1.2       0.1          0.2 
k.  Labor Productivity Rate 1.2      2.4       2.4          2.4 
                                     1993      1994      1995(est)* 
A.  Total exports (f.o.b./$b)**     111.3     115.6     113.9 
B.  Total imports (c.i.f./$b)**     114.4      117.5     110.7  
C.  U.S. exports (f.a.s./$b)***       8.9      10.8       n/a 
D.  U.S. imports (customs/$b)**       5.1       6.4       n/a   
*   Firm trade data is only available through 1993.  1994 and 1995 data 
are partial and estimated.  There is no estimate of 1996 trade data 
**  Source for data is statistics for the Belgium-Luxembourg Economic 
Union (BLEU). 
*** U.S. export figures are based on U.S. Department of Commerce census 
data, which includes goods destined for Luxembourg, but which also 
includes intransit trade and re-exports to other European countries.  
Approximately 50% of U.S. exports to Belgium are 
transported to a third country final destination. 
E.  Main U.S. exports to Belgium:  Tobacco & tobacco products, including 
cigars & cigarettes; gem diamonds; coal; automotive parts & accessories; 
computer hardware & software; chemicals. 
F.  Main U.S. imports from Belgium: 
    Gem diamonds; cars & other vehicles; petroleum; construction equip. 
chemicals; textiles machinery; carpets & other floor coverings. 
G.  Foreign supplier share of Belgian imports (percent) 
                                  1991     1992     1993 
   1.  Germany                    23.5     23.9     24.1      
   2.  Netherlands                17.2     17.5     17.6 
   3.  France                     15.8     16.5     16.7 
   4.  United Kingdom              8.4      7.7      7.5 
   5.  United States               4.8      4.4      4.3 
H. Balance of Payments ($b)      
(Belgian current account surplus)  4.8      4.4      4.8 
I. Trade balances with leading trading partners ($b) 
   1.  Germany                   -0.4    -1.7     -1.7 
   2.  Netherlands                 3.4      3.2    -5.04 
   3.  France                     -4.6     -5.0     3.14 
   4.  United Kingdom              0.3      0.1      0.3 
   5.  United States             -0.3     -0.7     -0.83 
A.     Foreign Ownership Restrictions: None 
B.     Total U.S. Investment: $11.6 billion (Year-end 1993) 
C.     U.S. Share of Foreign Investment: 40 percent 
D.     Principal Foreign Investors:  
     United States 
E.     Belgian Investment in the United States: $4.6 billion (Year-end 
U.S. Embassy Personnel 
U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service Personnel: 
FCS/EMB PSC 82 Box 002  
APO AE 09724-1016  
Tel: 322/513-3830  
Fax: 322/512-6653  
Terrance Flannery (U.S.) 
Commercial Counselor -- Senior commercial representative on the country 
team. Formulates the annual country marketing plan, the annual budget, 
and the Commercial Section's workplan. Writes the monthly hi-lights 
report. Conducts outreach and liaison with other trade-related 
organizations, and the U.S. & Belgian business communities.  Provides 
leadership, support and final evaluations of all US Department of 
Commerce personnel. 
John W. Avard (U.S.) 
Commercial Attache -- Supervises work of Commercial Foreign Service 
Nationals.  Organizes trade events.  Oversees publication of "Business 
Links".  Supervises development of all market research. 
George Luff (BE) 
Senior Trade Specialist -- Oversees the "Visit USA" Center and 
Committee.  Coordinates "Matchmaker" trade missions.  Industry 
specialist for chemicals, textiles, consumer goods, energy, travel, and 
services.  Primary contact with the Wallonian Region. 
Nicole Pollet (BE) 
Trade Specialist -- Specializing in high technology sectors. 
Assists U.S. companies interested in investing in Belgium.  Primary 
liaison with the Flanders region. 
Alain Cauwe (BE) 
Trade Specialist -- Covering developments in medical technology, general 
industrial machinery, security and safety equipment, analytical 
instrumentation,  pharmaceuticals, the environment, and aerospace. 
Yvette Pauwels (BE) 
Commercial Assistant -- Responsible for managing the Commercial Service 
computer system and database of 5,000 Belgian importers of U.S. 
products.  Prepares credit reports on Belgian firms on behalf of 
American companies. 
Brigitte de Stexhe (BE) 
Budget Specialist -- Provides trade event support.  Orders materials for 
the commercial library.  Counsels Belgian business on U.S. export 
controls.  Trade Specialist for printing and paper sectors, photographic 
products, and seafoods.   
Isabelle Uyttenhove (BE) 
Commercial Assistant -- Editor of "Business Links"  Processes NATO 
tenders.  Handles trade complaints.  Trade Specialist for jewelry, 
cosmetics, and furniture. 
Elfrieda Lambregts (BE) 
Executive Secretary to the Commercial Counselor and Commercial Attache -
-  Handles all of the Section's time-keeping and other personnel 
matters.  Maintains the paperflow for the entire Commercial Section. 
Danny Dumon (BE) 
Commercial Information Specialist and Commercial Librarian  -- With main 
responsibility for assisting visitors and handling written and phone 
requests for commercial information. 
Ms. Kim Boyd 
Visit USA Tourist Information Center 
350 Avenue Louise 
1050 Brussels, Belgium 
Tel:  322/648-4356 
Fax:  322/648-4022 
Economics Section: 
Mr. Terry Breese  
Economic Counselor 
EMB PSC 82 Box 002  
APO AE 09724-1016  
Tel: 322/513-3830  
Fax: 322/512-6653  
Foreign Agricultural Service: (Note: The Agricultural Counselor in The 
Hague has regional responsibility for Belgium and Luxembourg.) 
Mr. Steve Yoder 
Agriculture Counselor 
Located at the U.S. Embassy in The Netherlands 
FAS/EMB PSC 71, Box 1000 
APO AE 09715 
Tel: 31/70/310-9209 
Fax: 31/70/361-4688 
US Government: 
Ms. Elena Mikalis 
BENELUX Desk Officer 
IEP/EUR/OWE Room 3042 
Department of Commerce 
Washington D.C. 20230 
Tel:  202/482-6008 
Fax:  202/482-2897 
Chambers of Commerce: 
Ms. Jo Ann Broger 
General Manager 
American Chamber of Commerce in Belgium 
Avenue des Arts, 50, Box 5 
1040 Brussels 
Tel: 322/513-6770 
Fax: 322/513-7928 
Mr. Luc de Wolf 
General Director 
Brussels Chamber of Commerce 
Avenue Louise, 500 
1050 Brussels 
Tel: 322/648-5002 
Fax: 322/640-9328 
Belgian Government: 
Mr. P. Van Haute 
Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs 
Belgian Embassy 
3330 Garfield Street 
N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 
Tel: 202/333-6900 
Fax: 202/625-7567 
Mr. Everarts de Velp 
Commercial Attaché  
Dider Seeuws (for investing in Belgium) 
Economic Officer 
Belgian Embassy 
3330 Garfield Street 
N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 
Tel: 202/333-6900 
Fax: 202/625-7567 
Mr. P. Vindelinckx 
U.S.A. Department 
Belgian Foreign Trade Office 
W.T.C. Tower 1, Box 36 
Boulevard Emile Jacqmain, 162 
1210 Brussels 
Tel: 322/209-3511 
Fax: 322/217-6123 
Regional Governments: 
Mr. Robert Collignon 
Minister President of the Walloon Region 
Rue Mazy, 25-27 
5100 Namur 
Tel: 3281/33-1211 
Fax: 3281/33-1299 
Mr. Charles Picque 
Minister President of the Brussels Region 
Rue Ducale, 7-9 
1000 Brussels 
Tel: 322/506-3211 
Fax: 322/514-4022 
Mr. Luc Van den Brande 
Minister President of the Flemish Region  
Jozef II straat, 30 
1040 Brussels 
Tel: 322/210-8611 
Fax: 322/218-0350 
Mr. Jean-Marie Agarkow 
Deputy General Manager 
Ministry of Wallonia 
Office for Foreign Investments 
Avenue Prince de Liège 7 
5100 Namur 
Tel: 3281/32-1453 
Fax: 3281/30-6400 
Ms. Josée Mercken 
Managing Director 
FIOC - Flanders Investment Office 
Markiesstraat, 1 
1000 Brussels 
Tel: 322/507-3852 
Fax: 322/507-3851 
Mr. J.C. Moureau 
General Manager 
Office for Foreign Investment (Brussels Region) 
Rue du Champ de Mars, 25 
1050 Brussels 
Tel: 322/513-9700 
Fax: 322/511-5255 
American state offices in Belgium:      
Avenue Louise 437, Box 4 
1050 Brussels, Belgium 
Tel: 322/649-6024  
Fax: 322/649-4807 
Man. Dir.:Ms. Sybille Magee 
Marketing Man.:Ms. Beatrice Bouju 
Office Man.:Ms. Alice Frijns 
Department of Industry & Trade 
Avenue Louise 380, box 2 
1050 Brussels, Belgium 
Tel: 322/647-7825 
Fax: 322/640-6813 
Man. Dir.: Mr. James Blair 
Deputy Director: Mr. Georges Wheeler 
Man. Dir.: Dept of Agric: Mr. James Groark 
Asst. Man. Dir. Agric/Dept: Ms. Corry de Wit 
Rep. Europ. Office: Ms. Helge Tosti 
European Office 
Blvd. de la Cambre 28-30, Box 2 
1050 Brussels, Belgium 
Tel: 322/646-5730 
Fax: 322/646-5511 
Man. Dir.: Mr. Bart A. Smit 
Dir. Ind. Dev.: Ms. Sharon L. Stead 
Office Manager: Ms. P.M.L. Peake 
European Office 
Avenue des Arts 41, Box 1 
1040 Brussels, Belgium 
Tel: 322/505-0911/98 
Fax: 322/502-2860 
Dir.:Mr. Randy Miller 
326 Avenue Louise 
1050 Brussels, Belgium 
Tel: 322/645-1642 
Fax: 322/646-9934 
Dir. Europe: Mr. Paul Pilkalkaus 
European Office of Business & Indust.Dev. 
Chaussée de la Hulpe 164 Bte 10 
1170 Brussels, Belgium 
Tel: 322/675-4480 
Fax: 322/675-4858 
Europ. Dir.: Mr. Harry Gschwindt de Gyor 
Dir. Indust. Dev.: Mr. H. Peter Uebe 
European Office of International Trade 
Dir. Trade Dev.: Mr. Daniel Verheyen 
European Office 
Rue Ducale 41 
1000 Brussels, Belgium 
Tel: 322/511-0732 
Fax: 322/511-3617 
Managing Dir. Europe: Mr. Herbert H. Spaeth 
Trade Director: Mr. Dean Johnson 
Trade Rep.: Ms. Tiffany Fliss 
Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly 
c/o Minnesota Office 
Av. Louise 250, Box 31 
1050 Brussels, Belgium 
Tel: 32/2/626-0500 
Fax: 32/2/626-0510 
Trade Repr.: Mr. Eric Osterweil 
Lange Repeldreef 12 
B-2970 Schilde, Belgium 
Tel: 32/3/385-1509 
Fax: 323/385-1510 
Director of Business Development:  Mr. J. Ummo Burns 
Rue de la Pepiniere 1 
1000 Brussels, Belgium 
Tel: 32/2/512-8687 
Fax: 32/2/512-6614 
Managing Director: Mr. Patrick Mahaffey 
Commercial Asst.: Ms Kerry Lydon 
Rue Montoyer 31, Box 4 
1040 Brussels, Belgium 
Tel: 322/513-7798 
Fax: 322/514-2351 
Dir.: Mr. Jack L. Worms 
Asst. Director: Ms. Irma de Kruijf 
Rue Emile Dury 220 
1410 Waterloo 
Tel: 322/351-0075/12 
Fax: 322/351-0959 
Dir.: J. Carl Walker 
Av. Louise 479, Box 55 
1050 Brussels, Belgium 
Tel: 322/648-6179 
Fax: 322/648-0698 
Dir. Europe: Mr. Hans U. Schetelig 
F.E.B. (Federation of Belgian Enterprises) 
Rue Ravenstein, 4 
1000 Brussels 
Tel: 02/515.08.11 
Fax: 02/515.09.99 
George Jacobs, President 
The Belgian business federation is a nationwide organization of 
employers.  It is composed not of individual companies, but of 
industrial and trade federations.  This is Belgium's biggest association 
and represents all employer groups in negotiations with labor unions and 
the government. 
FABRIMETAL (Federation of Metalworking Industries) 
Rue des Drapiers, 21 
1050 Brussels 
Tel: 02/510.23.11 
Fax: 02/510.23.01 
Philippe de Buck van Overstraeten, Managing Director and General Manager 
This is the largest of the specialized federations and is made up of 
firms engaged in all phases of the following sectors:  metal working, 
plastic conversion, measuring, analysis and regulating instrumentations, 
electronics and electrical, aeronautical, telecommunications and data 
FECHIMIE (Federation of Chemical Industries) 
Square Marie Louise, 49 
1040 Brussels 
Tel: 02/238.97.11 
Fax: 02/231.13.01 
Norbert Martin, President 
This federation includes firms in all fields relating to chemicals, 
including petrochemicals, drugs, fertilizers, rubber, toiletries, 
plastics. etc. 
FEBELTEX (Federation of Textile Industries) 
Rue Montoyer, 24 
1040 Brussels 
Tel: 02/287.08.11 
Fax: 02/230.65.85 
Martin Van Houtte, General Manager 
This federation includes the full range of the Belgian textile industry 
including synthetics, carpets, cotton and wools. 
Brouwersvliet, 5, Box 4 
2000 Antwerp 
Tel: 03/202.44.00 
Fax: 03/233.76.60 
Johan De Muynck, President 
V.E.V. is the representative employers federation covering the Flemish 
part of Belgium.  It is independent of the F.E.B., but cooperates with 
it since their activities are parallel.  It acts as spokesman for its 
members' interests with the Flemish regional authority and tries to 
stimulate the Flemish economy by a wide range of different initiatives. 
UNION WALLONNE DES ENTREPRISES (Wallonian Enterprise Association) 
Rue Stocquoy, 1 
1300 Wavre 
Tel: 010/45.11.41 
Fax: 010/45.33.43 
Dominique Collinet, President 
This is the equivalent of the V.E.V. for Wallonia. 
The following industry subsector analyses completed to date in 1995 are 
available on the National Trade Data Bank: 
REPORT                               TYPE 
3. SUGAR                             SEMI-ANNUAL/ANNUAL 
4. TOBACCO                           ANNUAL 
5. COTTON                            ANNUAL 
6. FOREST PRODUCTS                   ANNUAL 
7. GRAIN AND FEED                    MONTHLY/ANNUAL 
9. LIVESTOCK                         SEMI-ANNUAL/ANNUAL 
10.DAIRY                             ANNUAL 
11.POULTRY                           ANNUAL 
CS   CATALOG SHOW                    
1995 EVENTS: 
SEP 10-13     DECOSIT,  
              Brussels   TFW   FCS   Upholstery/Textiles 
SEP 12-15     Bobbin Show, 
              Atlanta    FBP   FCS   Sewn products 
OCT 3-6       Pollutec,  
              Paris      FBP   FCS   Pollution control 
OCT 3-11     Int'l Telecom  
      Exhibition, Geneva FBP   FCS   Telecommunications 
OCT 19-25    Furniture Fair, 
             High Point  FBP   FCS   Furniture 
NOV 8-10     World Energy, 
             Atlanta     FBP   FCS   Engineering 
NOV 13-17  COMDEX fall  
      (escorted group)   FBP   FCS   Computers      
NOV 22-24   Brussels  
         Travel Fair     TFO   FCS   Travel 
1996 EVENTS: 
MARCH   Eurobenefit II   PIP   FCS   All sectors 
MARCH 7 Visit USA  
Workshop, Brussels       PIP   FCS   Travel 
     ConnAgg Show        FBP   FCS   Building 
MAR 20-27  CEBIT,  
         Hanover         FBP   FCS   Computers 
SPRING   Energy 
 US/Eastern Europe       FBP   FCS   Energy 
APRIL 2-4  Networld &  
  Interop,  Las Vegas    FBP   FCS   Showcase 
APR 22-27  Hanover Fair, 
           Hanover       FBP   FCS   Energy systems 
APR 23-26  European Seafood 
      Exhibition, Brussels PIP  FCS/FAS   Seafood 
MAY      TMAB, Brussels  PIP   FCS    Telecommunications 
           Las Vegas     FBP   FCS    Environmental 
JUNE 5-7  Hazmat,  
        Philadelphia     FBP   FCS    Environmental 
JUN 19-23  ENVITEC       FBP   FCS    Environmental 
JUNE 24-27 Supercomm, 
           Dallas        FBP   FCS    Computers      
SEP        DECOSIT,  
           Brussels      TFW   FCS   Upholstery/Textiles 
SEP        Farnborough 
           Air Show,  
           United Kingdom FBP  FCS   Aircraft, parts 
SEP 26-28  Personal Communication 
  Industry, San Francisco FBP  FCS   Telecommunications 
NOV 19-21  Business Aircraft 
  Association, Orlando    FBP  FCS   Aircraft 
As part of the Showcase Europe "Euroaccess" program, the following is a 
listing of 1995 and 1996 trade events located in either Belgium or The 
Netherlands, which will be jointly promoted and recruited by the two 
posts.  Wherever the event is held, an FCS specialist from the other 
country will attend the show and advise the American participants on the 
rest of the Benelux market.  In addition, the non-host FCS post will be 
prepared to conduct services for the participants after or before the 
actual trade event.  In other words, a U.S. company participating in the 
telecommunications TMAB event in Brussels in May 1996, could schedule a 
gold key or single company promotion, etc. with FCS The Hague to follow 
right after or before the Brussels-based event.  In this way, a company 
could once again explore both markets on one visit, participating in a 
trade event in one country and following-up with another market 
penetration service in the other country. 
--DECOSIT 95:  The largest annual furniture upholstery show in Europe 
takes place in Brussels, September 10-13, 1995.  FCS Brussels in 
conjunction with OTEXA is organizing a U.S. pavilion at this major 
European showcase for furniture upholstery. 
--THE MARCH EUROBENEFIT:  The March EUROBENEFIT is a unique horizontal 
matchmaker taking place MARCH, 1996, in Amsterdam and Brussels.  Each 
participant will have two days of meetings with specific end users 
and/or distributors interested in the company's product/service. 
--THE EUROPEAN SEAFOOD EXHIBITION:  The largest annual European Seafood 
Exhibition dedicated to seafood will be held in Brussels April 23-26, 
1996.  Again this year, the organizers will have a U.S. pavilion. 
--THE TMAB TELECOMMUNICATIONS SHOW:  Taking place during May, 1996 in 
Brussels, the TMAB show is the only show in Belgium dedicated to the 
telecommunications field.  FCS Brussels is organizing a U.S. pavilion 
for ten-twelve U.S. companies, which will not only be part of this major 
exhibition but which will also have specific one-on-one appointments 
with potential representatives. 
--INTERCLEAN:  The most important exhibition for cleaning equipment and 
supplies in the Benelux takes place in Amsterdam, May 7-11, 1996.  
During the last show two years ago, the U.S. pavilion featured 45 U.S. 
SEP 2-25,1995     BUREAU (office equipment), Brussels 
OCT 3-6, 1995     FAIRTEC (European Welding Week), Antwerp 
OCT 5-10, 1995    CAD CAM, Kortrijk 
OCT 16-18, 1995   INSURTEC (industrial surface welding), Antwerp 
NOV 5-9, 1995     SALON DU MEUBLE (furniture), Brussels 
NOV 19-23,1995    HORECA (hotel/resturant), Ghent 
JAN  27-30 ,1996  TEXTIRAMA (textiles & clothing), Ghent 
JAN 17-28, 1996   AUTO SHOW, Brussels 
FEB 29 - MAR 10, 1996  BATIBOUW (building construction), Brussels 
MAY 7-11, 1996    EUROTECH (5 industrial sectors), Brussels 
JUNE 4-7, 1996    INSTRURAMA (scientific/lab equipment), Brussels 
SEP 17-20,1996    INTERLECTRONIC (professional electronics), Brussels 
Because trade event schedules may change, please consult the export 
promotion calendar on the NTDB or contact Embassy Brussels for the 
latest information. 
November 19-23,1995  HORECA EXPO/GHENT (regional professional fair for 
high-value food and beverages 
March 24-26, 1996    TAVOLA/KORTRIJK (regional professional food and 
beverage fair for hotel, restaurant and cafe industries) 
April 21-24, 1996    MONDIAL DU VIN/BRUSSELS (international wine fair) 
November 24-28,1996  HORECA EXPO /GHENT (regional professional for high-
value food and beverages) 
February 1997        GASTRONOM/BRUSSELS (professional food fair -
consumer ready foods) 
February 1997        EUROBA/BRUSSELS (professional European Fair of 
basic products and raw materials, semi finished products and equipment 
for the bakery, pastry, confectionery, chocolate and ice cream 
manufacturing industries) 
November 1998        EXPOGAST/LUXEMBOURG (international trade show for 
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