Engaging in international business activity is a crucial growth engine for the economy. This is certainly true for Flanders which, with an export ratio exceeding 100%, maintains a strongly internationalised economy. Flanders accounts for four-fifths of the total trade in goods and commodities of Belgium, itself the eighth largest trading country in the world. Our important geographical location, our vaunted transportation infrastructure, and our free entrepreneurial climate have turned Flanders into an open and international economy.
In order to become stronger in a more competitive international environment, the Flemish economy should move into the world market more actively and without hesitation. Our position is reinforced by conquering foreign markets and attracting foreign capital and know-how. The Government of Flanders aims to increase the Flemish share in the global export market. It also wants to boost the number of Flemish companies that are active at the international level and to attract more international investments. In this context, special focus will be aimed at the fast(est) growing economies, and at a number of future-oriented and innovative spearhead sectors, being mindful in all of this not to neglect the important traditional sales markets and sectors.
Flanders in Action (ViA) has made it clear that international enterprise is, next to innovation, an essential component to turn Flanders into one of the top European regions. In order to meet the objectives and the breakthroughs in the ViA plan, there is need for an ambitious policy on international enterprise in which clear choices are set forth. In the competence Flanders exercises in the areas of sales and export policy, and with respect to the international component of its domestic competences, Flanders has the leeway that is required to conduct its own policy specific to the measure of its economy and the autonomy to take its own initiatives and execute projects.
Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT) was set up by the Government of Flanders to implement the policy within the area of international enterprise. FIT is an externally autonomous agency with its own Board of Directors. Its role is determined by a management agreement between FIT and the Government of Flanders.
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