Exporting guide to



Belgium is an affluent and multicultural country in the centre of Europe. It has a strong and longstanding trading relationship with the UK and is our 8th largest trading partner. English is an accepted business language and for many UK companies Belgium is just a short train ride away.

Trade statistics

£25.5 billion total UK exports to Belgium for the four quarters to the end of Q1 2023

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: July 2023)

8th largest UK export market

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: July 2023)

3.0% of total UK exports for the four quarters to the end of Q1 2023

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: July 2023)

Strategic location

Belgium is situated in the heart of Europe and is home to many international organisations and multinational companies, making it an attractive location to be commercially active. Belgium’s proximity to the UK is also a great advantage. Its good transport links mean you can get there and back for meetings within a day.

Strong and open economy

Belgium is an affluent and multicultural country with a developed, modern, private-enterprise economy. It’s an open and competitive market and barriers to market entry are low. There are opportunities in most sectors, in particular for high-value products and services.

Similarities to the UK

Belgium has a similar business culture to the UK’s and English is an accepted business language. British products enjoy a good reputation and if your product or service is successful in the UK, there’s a good chance you’ll be successful in Belgium.

Top five UK goods exported to Belgium, in the four quarters to the end of Q1 2023

Goods Value (£billion)
Medicinal & pharmaceutical products 2.9
Refined oil 2.3
Gas 1.5
Cars 1.4
Organic chemicals 0.9

Source: ONS Trade in goods: country-by-commodity exports
Last updated: July 2023
Download the latest trade and investment factsheet for Belgium.

Top five UK services exported to Belgium, in the four quarters to the end of Q1 2023

Service Value (£billion)
Other Business Services 3.2
Travel 1.2
Intellectual property [Note 5] 1.0
Manufacturing 0.5
Telecommunications, computer and information services 0.5

Source: ONS UK trade in services: service type by partner country, non-seasonally adjusted
Last updated: July 2023
Download the latest trade and investment factsheet for Belgium.

Belgium: at a glance

Economic growth


Actual figure (IMF, 2022)
The UK is 4.0% (IMF, 2022, actual figure)

GDP per capita


Actual figure (IMF, 2022)
The UK is $45,295 (IMF, 2022, projected figure)



Business languages

French, Dutch, German, English

Time zone

GMT +1

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Opportunities for exporters

There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in Belgium have identified particular opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors:

Check for trade barriers

Trade barriers, such as tariffs or taxes, can raise costs, cause delays, or even stop you from exporting. Check for any issues that may impact your business when exporting.

See current trade barriers

See resolved trade barriers

Check duties and customs

Find information on how to export goods from the UK. View the duties, rules, restrictions, and the documents you need for your products.

See current duties and customs procedures

Doing business in Belgium

Preparing to export


The UK and Belgium have signed a double taxation agreement that ensures the same income is not taxed twice.


If you’re registered for VAT in the UK, it may be possible to zero-rate the goods you export to Belgium, provided certain conditions are met.

The standard rate of VAT is currently 21%. A reduced rate of 12% applies to social housing and agricultural products. A 6% tax rate applies to basic foodstuffs, water, hotel services, property restoration and certain other supplies.

You can find out more about paying taxes, including VAT, on the Belgian tax authority’s website.

Corporate tax

The corporation tax rate in Belgium is 29.58%, and is set to decrease to 25% in 2021.


Products and packaging should meet EU standards. The Belgian Bureau for Standardisation is responsible for developing, publishing and selling standards in Belgium.


You should provide information for users in Belgium’s official languages of Dutch and French. Textile products must be labelled with information on fibre content. Ask the importer about further requirements for specific products.

Services regulations

Information on rules for selling services and business travel to Belgium is available on gov.uk.

Trade barriers

Check for any reported barriers to trading with Belgium.

Report any trade barriers that are affecting your business so we can help fix them.

Operating in Belgium

Intellectual property

Intellectual property (IP) rights are territorial and rights granted in the UK do not provide protection elsewhere. You should consider getting IP protection abroad if you want to trade overseas or sell to overseas customers via the internet.

The Intellectual Property Office provides practical information to help you protect, manage and enforce your IP abroad. Further support for British businesses can be found through a network of IP attachés, based in key UK export markets.

Payment terms

The standard period for paying invoices in Belgium is 30 days, this is the scenario where the agreement between buyer and seller doesn’t state otherwise.

Contracting parties however can agree explicitly to shorten or expand the payment period, with expansion topped off to max 60 days.

Business culture

In general, Belgians have good compromise and negotiation skills. They appreciate a direct and logical communication style and have a flexible approach to forging win-win deals. One should avoid any confrontational or high-pressure tactic.

During meetings, it is usual to engage in small talk before discussing business. You should wait for your Belgian counterpart to initiate the business discussion. Belgians are professional and pragmatic and will appreciate a convincing and detailed presentation.

Punctuality and respect for deadlines are paramount. Meetings are usually well structured and efficiently run, and a pre-set agenda is followed.

Business cards are often used as introduction and are exchanged without formal ritual.

Belgian business dress code is conservative.

Next steps

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