Flanders-China trade increases significantly in 2020

Trade between Flanders and China increased significantly in 2020 despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Flemish exports increased by 22.56% to €7.63 billion as imports from China rose 5.26% to €16.44 billion, reducing Flanders' trade deficit with China to €8.81 billion. The latest statistics of Flanders Investment & Trade also show that in the first quarter of this year Flanders' exports to China amounted to €1.81 billion, up 1.13%, while imports from China reached €4.66 billion, up 27.82%, causing Flanders to have a €2.84 billion trade deficit with China in the first quarter.

In 2020, China was Flanders' eighth most important export market, representing 2.56% of Flanders' total exports. In the first quarter of this year, China dropped to 9th place on the list of Flanders' export markets, representing 2.17% of Flanders' exports. In 2020 China's worldwide imports reached €1.8 trillion, representing 11.54% of worldwide imports, making China the second largest importing country. With exports to China valued at €7.63 billion, Flanders accounted for 0.42% of China's total imports.

The sectoral breakdown of Flanders' exports to China is as follows: chemical and pharmaceutical products (34.27%); machines, equipment and electrical goods (12.82%); base metals (11.14%); plastics and appliances (9.90%), optics and precision equipment (6.69%), and others (25.16%).

As Flanders' imports from China reached €16.44 billion in 2020, China became Flanders' fifth largest importer, representing 5.84% of Flanders' world-wide imports. In the first quarter of 2021, China remained Flanders' fifth largest importer with a share of 5.94% of Flanders' imports.

In 2020, China's exports reached €2.27 trillion, representing 14.74% of worldwide exports, making China the largest exporting country. Flanders accounted for 0.72% of China's exports. The sectoral breakdown of Flanders' imports from China is as follows: machines, equipment and electrical goods (27.81%); textiles (11.76%); transport equipment (11.41%); chemical and pharmaceutical products (9.91%); several goods and products (9.87%), and others (29.24%).

In 2020, Flanders' share of Belgian exports to China reached 89.31%, followed by Wallonia (9.47%) and Brussels (1.22%), compared to an 81.16% share of Flanders in total Belgian exports. Flanders' share of Belgian imports from China reached 90.47% in 2020, followed by Wallonia at 7.91% and Brussels at 1.62%.

There are no regional statistics of trade in services. In 2019, services represented 27.98% of Belgium's total exports of goods and services and 27.87% of total imports. In 2019 Belgium exported services worth €1.10 billion to China, up 2.79% on 2018. China is the 15th export market for Belgian services, with a share of 1.02% of the total Belgian export of services. China imported services worth €0.85 billion from Belgium in 2019. China was the 19th largest supplier of services to Belgium with a 0.79% share of Belgium's total imports of services. In 2019 Belgium supplied 0.25% of China's total imports of services and imported 0.33% of China's total services exports.

This overview is based on statistics of the Institute for National Accounts (NBB) and analysis by Flanders Investment & Trade.