Export of high-tech goods

  • Flemish high-tech exports good for 27 billion euros

    In 2018, Flemish high-tech exports amounted to 26.6 billion euros. In 2014 and 2015, significant growth figures (in current prices) (+10.6% and +17.4%) were recorded. But there was a decline in 2016 (-3.3%), followed by a slight growth in 2017 (+1.4%). In 2018, high-tech exports once again showed stronger growth, by 3.8%. Until 2016, growth of high-tech exports was more important than that of total exports. Total exports hardly grew until 2016, but saw an accelerated growth in 2017 (+4.4%). In 2018, total export growth was on a par with high-tech export growth. 


    Almost half of high-tech exports (49%) are pharmaceutical products. Other important product groups in Flemish high-tech exports are electronics and telecommunications and scientific instruments (each 14%). 

  • Relatively small share of high-tech goods in total Flemish exports

    In 2018, high-tech goods made up 8% of total Flemish exports. That share was equalled in the Brussels-Capital Region. In the Walloon Region, the share of high-tech goods in total exports was higher (23%). 


    In comparison with the EU countries, the Flemish Region’s share is relatively low. In 2018 the EU average was 18%. Ireland tops the list (35%). Malta, the Netherlands and France also have high-tech exports above 20%. The Belgian share is 10%. The share of high-tech goods in total exports is lowest in Portugal, Greece and Spain. 

  • High-tech export relatively large in relation to Flemish GDP

    The size of Flemish high-tech export was good for 10% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the Flemish Region in 2018. Because total exports are relatively important in the Flemish Region, a small share of high-tech goods in total exports corresponds to their relatively large share in relation to GDP. With 1% of GDP, the Brussels-Capital Region has a low score of high-tech export. In the Walloon Region, high-tech export in relationship to GDP is 13%. 


    The Flemish Region clearly performed better in 2018 than the EU average of 5%. The Netherlands performs best (17%). The share is also high in Ireland and a number of East European Member States. Spain, Portugal and Greece are once again at the bottom of the list 


Instituut voor de Nationale Rekeningen (INR) / Institute of National Accounts: Foreign trade of Belgium 
Eurostat: High-tech export 


High-tech export: exports of specific high-technology categories: aviation, computers, electronics engineering and telecommunication, pharmaceutical products, scientific instruments, electrical machinery, chemical products, non-electric machinery and weapons. 

 Current or nominal prices: prices in the specific year, not corrected for inflation. 

Publication date

30 September 2019

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