Flanders exports on the rise, says Jan Jambon at FIT "future-proof" fair

After a virtual edition last year, Flanders-based exporters are again meeting in person at Brussels Expo. Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) is hosting the 4th edition of the Export Fair from this Tuesday 21 June to Thrusday 23 June. In total, 605 companies with internationalization goals will be able to introduce their questions directly to FIT's network, exhibitors and specialists.

Flanders’ Minister-President Jan Jambon attended the fair this afternoon to present exports figures for Flanders.

“In the first quarter of 2022, goods exports from Flanders rose by 37.5%, partly due to more significant price increases, compared to the same period last year," announced Jambon. "That is a lot higher than the EU average (+20.3%) and more than the historic export profit for the full year 2021 (+27.6%)," he added.

Due to the war in Ukraine, exports to Ukraine (-82%) and Russia (-20%) fell sharply from March 2022 compared to March 2021, but the impact on overall exports from Flanders has been limited so far. "Companies should remain on their guard. By participating in the Export Fair, exporters can already increase their range of action, supported by the expertise of FIT and its many partners,” invited the Flemish president.

The Export Fair was launched in 2016 and continues to be the meeting place for Flanders-based entrepreneurs.

"What makes me really proud is that we work side by side with the business world, grow and think ahead. Our flexibility as an independent government agency allows us to quickly adapt and evolve with business trends," says Claire Tillekaerts, CEO of Flanders Investment & Trade. "The feedback from exporters who participated in our previous editions regard the Export Fair as the ideal one-stop shop to put their internationalization plans into practice,” she details.

A total of 1,394 attendees have registered for the 47 workshops on subjects such as intellectual property, e-commerce, marketing, subsidies and sustainable international business. Exporters can also visit the Brexit Desk to attend workshops on the post-Brexit era. The call for the Brexit Special Export Grant will run until 30 June 2022.

Besides, a program of 1,935 B2B meetings has been developed by 14 International Business advisors, 89 country experts and nine Science & Technology Counselors from FIT’s worldwide network and 4 customs attachés from the FPS Finance. In addition, 35 exhibitors are guiding visitors within their field of expertise. 

Future-proof organisation

During their visit to the Export Fair, Jambon and Tillekaerts also took part in the Digital Tech Talk. Science & Technology Coordinator Filip De Weerdt gave tech players tips to take their first steps in the international arena.

The Technology Attachés (TAs) support Flanders-based companies and foreign companies looking for a business location in the EU. They work worldwide from offices in New York, Palo Alto, Paris, London, Copenhagen, Munich, Mumbai, Singapore, Guangzhou and Tokyo. 

"Each and every one of these initiatives has made FIT a future-proof organisation," highlights Tillekaerts.

Besides the roll-out of Science & Technology Offices worldwide, FIT's CEO mentions the digitization of operations; the professionalization of the international network; data-driven services for start-ups and the Exportmeter, an audit tool for mapping the export potential of companies.




© PHOTO (FIT) Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon visits 4th FIT Export Fair in the presence of Head of Department Trade FIT, Dirk Van Steerteghem (L) and FIT CEO Claire Tillekaerts (C)

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