Export ratio


National Bank of Belgium (NBB), European Commission: Annual Macro-Economic Database (AMECO), processed by Statistics Flanders.


Imports and exports of goods: the ESA 2010 (National and Regional Accounts Manual) states that the total value of imports and exports of goods comprises the flows of goods between residents and non-residents from the moment when ownership is transferred. When resident and non-resident related enterprises supply goods to each other, a transfer of ownership is also assumed to have taken place. Whether there is a physical cross-border movement of goods is irrelevant. According to the ESA 2010, goods which will be subject to contract work or repairs are not deemed to be imported or exported goods. Goods which enter Belgium and which are next forwarded to another country (i.e. goods which are the subject of transit trade) are not included in the import and export figures of the national accounts.

The import and export of a service comprises the total value of the service which is provided between residents and non-residents. The place where the service is provided is irrelevant in determining whether a service is imported or exported. 

According to the ESA 2010, imports and exports of services between residents and non-residents cover a wide range of service transactions. A total of 12 types of services are identified for the purposes of the balance of payments: 

- subcontracting services; 

- repairs; 

- transport services; 

- travel-related services; 

- communication, IT and messaging services; 

- construction services; 

- insurance services; 

- financial services; 

- royalties and licences; 

- other services to enterprises; 

- personal, cultural and leisure services; 

- government services not mentioned elsewhere. 

The export ratio: the ratio of exports of goods and services as a percentage of gross domestic product. The source for the latter is the HERMREG database, which was created in the context of the medium-term economic outlook. 

Gross domestic product (GDP): the monetary value of the final goods and services produced in a country or region in a given year.

Remarks on quality


Goods: largely based on external trade data according to 'national concept': This refers to the import and export of goods which cross national borders with one party to the transaction being a Belgian resident. This is in contrast to the 'Community concept' which contains a considerable amount of trade not involving Belgian residents. Corrections have been made, one of the most important of which is the correction for fiscal representatives (distribution between the regions): they perform administrative tasks for companies, but they themselves carry out little economic activity.

Between 1995 and 2005, imports and exports of services on the balance of payments were largely estimated on the basis of declarations by credit institutions. The banks reported all international payments relating to the import and export of services, both for their customers and for their own account, on a daily basis. However, the banks didn’t have to provide detailed information for small amounts. From the year 2007 onwards, imports and exports of services have been directly queried among the importing and exporting businesses via surveys.

The data set on imports and exports according to ESA 2010 was revised parallel with the revision of the national and regional accounts. The revisions were made from 2009 onwards. That explains why this is the starting year of the data.

The main national changes relating to imports and exports of goods concerned transactions by non-residents (or tax representatives), transactions of a temporary nature or without transfer of ownership, the CIF/FOB valuation and online purchases. An important change inherent to the regional accounts is that imports and exports of units with branches in several arrondissements are no longer distributed based on the number of jobs, but based on the wage bill per arrondissement according to the NSSO branch database.

The most important changes made nationally concerned the import of financial intermediation services indirectly measured, the export of administrative services and travel.


Instituut voor de Nationale Rekeningen: Regional accounts

The National Bank of Belgium (Nationale Bank van België NBB): Regional breakdown of Belgian imports and exports of goods and services according to ESA 2010

European Commission: Ameco


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