Export of high-tech goods

  • Flemish high-tech exports good for 29 billion euros in 2019

    In 2019, Flemish high-tech exports amounted to 29.1 billion euro. In 2014 and 2015, significant growth figures (in current prices) (+10.6% and +17.4%) were recorded. 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% and in 2019 a growth of 9.6% was recorded. The growth of the high-tech exports in 2019 contrasted with the decline of the total exports in that year (-1.4%).

    Half of high-tech exports are pharmaceutical products. Other important product groups within the Flemish high-tech exports are electronics and telecommunications and scientific instruments (each about 15%).

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

    In 2019, high-tech exports amounted to 29.1 billion euro and made up 9% of the total Flemish exports. That share was slightly lower in the Brussels-Capital Region (8%) where the high-tech exports amounted to 0.9 billion euro. In the Walloon Region, the share of high-tech goods in total exports was higher (28%) and amounted to 17.8 billion euro. This was due to the high importance of pharmaceutical products in the Walloon exports.

    In comparison with the EU countries, the Flemish Region’s high-tech exports share is relatively low. In 2018 the EU27 and EU28 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 exports is lowest in Portugal, Greece and Spain. Pharmaceutical products are an important element of export in Spain and Ireland, in the Netherlands, furthermore, semiconductors play an important part.

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

    The size of Flemish high-tech export was good for 11% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the Flemish Region in 2019. 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 16%.

    The Flemish Region clearly performed better in 2018 than the EU27 and EU28 average of 5%. The Netherlands performed best (17%). The share was also high in Ireland and a number of East European Member States. Spain, Portugal and Greece were 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

13 January 2021

Next update

September 2021

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