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If the numbers make one thing clear, it’s that Belgium is one of the world’s leading forces in the pharmaceutical industry. For one, the sector is a driver of innovation, investing about EUR 14 million per day in R&D. Moreover, in 2021, the country exported a whopping EUR 230 million in biopharmaceuticals every single day. That’s a major increase from the EUR 150 million per day of the year before. The results are, in large part, driven by the country’s northern region of Flanders, which represents nearly 82% of all of Belgium’s exports and where the export of pharma products alone reached over EUR 58 billion in 2021.

Figures that speak volumes

Over the past 2 years, Belgian pharmaceutical exports have risen by an impressive 70%, representing almost one-fifth of the country’s total exports. The local pharma industry trades its products not just within the EU, but also far beyond. Its main EU export markets are Germany, Italy, France, Spain and the Netherlands, while the US, the UK, China, Switzerland and Canada are its main customers outside of the EU.

What’s more, the sector channeled over EUR 1.5 billion into R&D activities in 2021. To put this figure into perspective, that’s about 40% of all private R&D investments in Belgium, a share that’s twice as much as the European average.

Major economic value

But the sector’s impressive track record doesn’t end there. Over the past five years, sectoral workforce figures increased by 18.7% to 40,464 direct employees and more than 130,000 jobs if you include indirect employment.

What’s more, the pharmaceutical sector represented 5% of Belgium’s GNP and 20% of the local industry’s total added value in 2021. Consequently, the sector’s economic worth is considerable, to say the least.

Reported by
website Belga News Agency

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