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Foreign investment flows into Wallonia

In 2018, foreign companies invested €1.142 billion and generated 2,743 new jobs in Wallonia, divided between 71 projects, according to the most recent data from the Wallonia Foreign Trade and Investment Agency (AWEX).

Although fewer new investment projects were started last year (71) than in 2017 (89), by all other measurements, 2018 was a blockbuster year for foreign direct investment (FDI) in Wallonia, the second best result since 2000 according to AWEX:

  • €1.142 billion invested vs. €682 million in 2017
  • 2,743 new direct jobs created vs. 2,009 in 2017

The US was the second most important foreign investor in Wallonia last year, accounting for €212 million of FDI (18.6%), behind only China. Recent examples of US-driven investment in the region include Google’s expansion of its data center in Saint-Ghislain, Cargill’s new liquid chocolate production line in Mouscron, and Avery Dennison’s expansion of its factory in Soignies.

Last year, foreign companies mainly invested in new technologies (€330 million), life sciences (€158 million), the agrofood industry (€150 million) and the logistics sector (€133 million).

Foreign investments are key drivers for the Walloon and Belgian economy, not only by spurring job creation, but also by bringing new expertise and know-how to strengthen the economic fabric. With these investments, US and other international companies demonstrate how committed they are to Wallonia and Belgium.

AmCham Belgium supports the efforts to improve Belgium’s attractiveness for foreign direct investment and is ready to work with all levels of government to build on these figures and support this positive trend for the whole country: we want companies to say #Yes2Belgium!

In February 2019, AmCham Belgium will publish the next edition of its Priorities for a Prosperous Belgium, our policy recommendations for the future regional and federal governments, which will focus on the importance of foreign investments for the Belgian economy. Stay tuned!

Check out our blog post on FDI in Flanders!