Despite economic uncertainties linked mainly to Brexit, Wallonia’s exports grew by 8.7% in 2018, reaching a record high of 45.5 billion euros, the region’s agency for exports and foreign investment, Awex, announced on Tuesday. Overall exports were boosted by a 22.4% jump in sales to non-EU countries, while sales within the European Union also increased, albeit by a more modest 5.1%.
Wallonia can boast of being a top performer among the regions and countries with which it is usually compared: it did as well as France, whose exports also went up by 8.7% last year, and better than the Netherlands (+6.1%), the euro zone (+4.5%), France (+3.9%) and Germany (+3%).
The region’s main clients in 2018 were France, Germany and the United States. Wallonia’s exports to the USA shot up by a remarkable 57.2% last year.
The region also attracted 70 foreign investors in 2018, representing a total investment of 1.142 billion euros, a 67% increase over the previous year, with the potential of creating 2,743 jobs (+37%).
The increases were due mainly to the arrival of Chinese companies Alibaba and Thunder Power in Liège and Charleroi respectively.