Belgium Review

Belgium 10th largest export destination of Pakistan
by Professor Dr. Noor Ahmed Memon, Dadabhoy Institute of Higher Education.

Belgium is an important trading partner for Pakistan in Europe, as it follows the common Trade Policy adopted by the European Union. The grant of GSP+ status to Pakistan by the EU allows zero tariffs concession on 66% of Pakistan’s products in the member countries of European Union, including Belgium.

Belgium was one of the first countries in the world to recognize Pakistan’s independence. It opened its Embassy in Karachi in December 1948. Belgian companies had very quickly understood the importance of Pakistan and have invested heavily in the country over the last 70 years.

Mr. Abid Husain,
The Belgian Trade Commissioner.

For instance, Belgium built the first port in Gwadar in the 1980s. Belgium has also assisted Pakistan in all its time of need, and in recent years donated large amounts to help the country overcome the devastations of the 2005 earthquake and 2010-2013 floods. Pakistan-Belgium Business Forum (PBBF) establishment indeed was a big step towards deepening of bilateral relations.

Pakistan diplomatic post in Belgium is important because Brussels is the headquarters of the European Union and NATO, among many other international organisations with which Pakistan maintain close contact. Pakistan has often lobbied to gain Belgium’s support in establishing the Pakistan-EU Free Trade agreement, as Belgium is the centre of European policy making and politics.

Over the past five years, trade between Pakistan and Belgium has increased but the rise in exports has been greater than the imports. Belgium is the 10th largest European importer of Pakistani goods, and the bilateral trade between the two is approaching US$ 978 million in 2016-17. Increasing trends were witnessed both in imports and exports over the last two years, which led to a healthy transformation in bilateral trade. The balance of trade had remained in favour of Pakistan.

Pakistan and Belgium maintain healthy bilateral trade relations. The export volume of Pakistan to Belgium reached US$ 590 million while imports amounted to US$ 388 million in 2016-17. Table 1 shows Pak-Belgium trade balance.

Table 1: Pak - Belgium Trade Balance
                                                                                  (Value: US$ million)

Year Export Import Balance of Trade
2012-13 425 430 - 5
2013-14 472 428 - 44
2014-15 497 428 + 169
2015-16 503 435 +68
2016-17 590 388 + 202
     Source: State Bank of Pakistan.

Cotton fabrics and yarn, readymade garments, knitwear, towels, hosiery, art silk, carpet and rugs, leather gloves, sports goods and fish and fish preparation, medical or surgical instruments are the major items exported from Pakistan to Belgium, as shown in Table 2.

Table 2: Export of textile and other products from Pakistan to Belgium
(Major Items)




  Cotton Yarn

5,226 65,75

  Cotton Fabrics

61,022 66,572
  Readymade Garments 186,488 142,839
  Knitwear 145,423 138,113
  Textile Made-ups 11,732 12,462
  Bedwear 122,755 123,050
  Towels 19,625 27,183
  Tent and Canvas 196 901
  Art Silk 4,837 6,560
  Rice 30,018 29,813
  Leather Apparel & Clothing 11,407 10,819
  Leather Glovers 5,040 4,917
  Footwear 1,653 2,685
  Sports Goods 16,422 17,426
  Car Parts 159 528
  Surgical Goods 5,018 5,028
  Fish & Fish Preparation 554 1,493
  Fruits 395 483
  Cutlery 600 614

     Source: Trade Development Authority of Pakistan.

Textile machinery, general industrial machinery, power generating machinery, pharmaceuticals are the main items imported from Belgium. Statistics regarding imports of major textile machinery from Belgium to Pakistan are given in Table 3.

Table 3: Import of textile Machinery from Belgium to Pakistan
(Major Items)
                                                                                                       Value: Rs. 000

Machinery Unit 2016-17 2015-16
Quantity Value Quantity Value
 Weft Winding Machinery No 1 2,620 -- --
 Weaving Machines No 1,289 5,348,265 1,278 3,502,714
 Bobbies Jacquard Machines No 62 47,147 251 47,753
 Auxillary Machines No 6 3,892 1 723
 Reeds for Loom Kg 818 2,244 1,900 6,583
 Healds and Healds Frame Kg 3,085 15,955 2,627 16,984
 Shuttles Kg 90 401 -- --
 Sinkers Kg 311 929 -- --
     Source: Belgian Foreign Trade Agency.


  • Belgium Economy Profile-2017.

  • Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

  • Trade Development Authority of Pakistan.

  • State Bank of Pakistan, Annual Report, 2016-17.


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