Towards a Theory of Internationalization
Edited by Léo-Paul Dana, Isabell M. Welpe, Mary Han and Vanessa Ratten
Chapter 6: Internationalization of SMEs in Belgium
Jan Degadt 1 General background Situation of Belgium Following its own constitution, Belgium is a federal constitutional monarchy. It is located close to the North Sea in Western Europe. Its neighbouring countries are France (South), the Netherlands (North), Germany and Luxembourg (East). The United Kingdom is across the North Sea. Belgium has an area of 30 528 sq km and a population of 10 396 421 (2004 estimate). There are three language-based Communities (Dutch, French and German) and three Regions: Dutch-speaking Flanders in the North, French-speaking Wallonia in the South, and bilingual Dutch-French Brussels at the centre. The currency is the euro. Belgium is a Member of a large number of international organizations, such as the UN, ILO, WTO, IMF/World Bank, OECD, EU and NATO. Brussels is the capital of Belgium. It also is the seat of a number of international institutions such as the EU Commission, the EU Council and the political headquarters of NATO. The Belgian economy has been a very open economy for a long time. Within 300 km of Brussels are the Paris and London agglomerations, Randstad Holland (the big metropolitan area including Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the Netherlands) and the German Ruhr area. Despite its small size, Belgium is an important player in international trade. In 2004, Belgium had a ‘market share’ of 3.4 per cent of world exports. It is the tenth most important exporter, lagging just behind Canada but preceding larger economies such as South Korea, Russia or Spain. Belgium has always been...
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