Netherlands overtakes US as biggest investor in Flanders

Foreign investors invested billions in Flanders in 2023, despite tougher economic times. For the first time in years, the US is no longer the biggest investor in Flanders and has been overtaken by the Netherlands, according to figures from Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT).

The figures were announced on Tuesday by Flemish minister president Jan Jambon during the World Economic Forum in Davos. Flanders is one of the only regions that is active at the forum, particularly in making contacts with investors.

FIT, whose role is to attract and support foreign investors, reports that foreign companies invested 4.92 billion euros last year. While this is lower than the record amount of 5.26 billion euros invested in 2022, it is still the third highest investment figure ever, "in a climate of international crisis", says FIT.

Job creation

The investments were made in a total of 265 projects, creating 4,596 jobs, in pharmaceuticals, chemicals, cleantech and glass production. They include the German company Aurubis, which recently made two investments in Flanders.

When it comes to the source of investment, the US has fallen into second place. Historically, the US has been Belgium's main source of foreign direct investment. It is possible that president Joe Biden's support programme - the Inflation Reduction Act - has made US companies less interested in foreign investment. The US was responsible for 37 projects in Flanders last year, a market share of just under 14 per cent.

The number one country of origin is the Netherlands, which has traditionally been an important investor in Flanders. The Netherlands accounted for 45 investment projects in 2023 and a market share of almost 17 per cent. This is partly due to the weaker performance of the US, but also to increased merger and acquisition activity from the Netherlands.


#FlandersNewsService | © BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS

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