The Belgian Foreign Trade Agency (BFTA) is a public institution, which is an incorporated body, founded under the Cooperation Agreement (only available in French and Dutch) of 24 May 2002 agreed between the Federal Authority and the Regions. The Belgian Foreign Trade Agency is managed by a Board of Directors whose Honorary President is His Majesty the King.

The Belgian Foreign Trade Agency is at the disposal of these three Regional authorities that promote exports, and also collaborates with the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs. That is how the Agency acts as a vast platform in which the Federal competence of international relations and the Regional competence of foreign trade meet.

Mission Statement

The Belgian Foreign Trade Agency endeavours to provide support to the three Regions and the federal government in promoting foreign trade.

In accordance with Article 3 of the Cooperation Agreement (only available in French and Dutch) dated 24 May 2002 between the Federal Government and the Regions, the Agency is responsible for:

  • deciding on and organising joint economic missions linked to an initiative by one or several of the Regions or at the request of the Federal Government,
  • organising, developing and disseminating information, studies and documentation about external markets to regional services responsible for foreign trade in accordance with Appendix 1,
  • tasks of common interest decided unanimously by the Board of Directors. In December 2014, the Board therefore decided that the Belgian Foreign Trade Agency would, from 2015, contribute to the logistical organisation and the economic aspects of two State Visits abroad by the King and the Queen of Belgium per year.

First pillar

The first pillar concerns the organisation of two economic missions a year. These are organised in cooperation with the Wallonia Export-Investment Agency (AWEX), and Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT). In addition, the BFTA collaborates with the FPS Foreign Affairs, which is responsible for the protocol and political aspects of the programme. Companies from various industries take part in these missions, which chiefly focus on economic growth regions and countries. Belgian business representatives can establish high-level contacts with leading local industrial players, organisations and public bodies during these missions.

Second pillar

A second pillar relates to the collection and distribution of information about the foreign markets. Its Overseas Business Opportunities Centre specialises in the distribution of three types of trade information: overseas public tenders, international projects and trade proposals. The department also offers public procurement guidelines, specifications for a tender at cost, personalized foreign trade statistics subscriptions, newsflashes with economic information as well as market regulations. It organises seminars with experts in public contracts.
On April 1st 2015, a new package named Trade4U was launched, allowing companies to receive personalised business opportunities through an app. The BFTA also publishes econonomic studies, country studies and memos containing comparative national and international statistics about foreign trade. Finally, the agency also provides advice about international trade regulations and legislation.

Strategy and objectives

2024 is a special year for a number of reasons. During the first semester, Belgium will hold the Presidency of the European Council, an important mandate for our country. In addition, a number of elections will be held: the elections for the European Parliament, for the Chamber of Representatives and for the Parliaments of the regions and communities will take place on Sunday 9 June 2024; the municipal elections on Sunday 13 October 2024. The political stakes are high. 

Despite this busy schedule, the Agency and its partners will organise two Belgian Economic Missions and one or two State Visits, as no official confirmation has yet been received for the first half of 2024.

The first mission to be chaired by HRH Princess Astrid, will take place in Norway from 16 to 19 June 2024. This nearby destination was chosen taking into account the electoral context, as our authorities are highly mobilised.

In the second half of the year our Sovereigns will visit the Socialist Republic of Vietnam at the invitation of President H.E. Võ Văn Thưởng, during the week of 21 October 2024. HRH Princess Astrid will take the Belgian delegation to Brazil on a mission from 22 to 29 November 2024. The last joint economic mission to this country dates back to 2010.

At the same time, the Studies department will publish the standard economic studies on Norway and Brazil. It will create two new sector-specific publications: 'Belgian nuclear medicine' and 'Belgian sustainable chemistry'.

The Belgian exporters’ database will be kept up-to-date and expanded to include new companies, with the aim of automating data exchanges with our regional partners Flanders Investment and Trade and, as is already the case with AWEX. The Trade4U team will continue to look for international business opportunities for subscribers. A Trade4U seminar will also be organised as part of the Belgian Economic Mission to Brazil.

Great projects that our teams will carry out with their usual enthusiasm.

Source: 2023 Activity report, Belgian Foreign Trade Agency
Date of publication: is scheduled for March 2024

Activity report

Budgetary allocations (2023 - 2024)

The Agency is funded by an indexed federal allocation and by contributions from the Regions based on the distribution scale with regard to taxes on natural persons..

The receipts in the 2023 budget amounted to € 4,617,979.00:

Detail allocations 2023

For 2024, the revenues of the federal and regional institutions amount to € 4,645,000.00:

Detail allocations 2024



In recent decades, the competence for ‘foreign trade’ has undergone some phases of regionalisation in Belgium. Until 1990, the Belgian Foreign Trade Office (Belgische Dienst voor Buitenlandse Handel - Office belge du Commerce extérieur) was the most important institution for export promotion. In 1990, a Walloon agency - Wallonia Export-Investment Agency was founded, followed by a Flemish equivalent in 1991 Flanders Investment & Trade. That same year, Brussels Invest & Export, now was also founded. The Cooperation Agreement (only available in French and Dutch) of 24 May 2002 between the Federal Government and the Regions laid the foundation for the creation of the Belgian Foreign Trade Agency.

Team BFTA 2024
 © BelgaImage

The Belgian Foreign Trade Agency celebrates its 20th anniversary

Logo years BFTA

On the 8th of February 2024, a New Year reception brought together the main partners of the Belgian Foreign Trade Agency. His Majesty King Philippe, Honorary President of the Agency, wished to mark this anniversary with His presence. It was an opportunity to recall the history and numerous realisations of the Agency that celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2023.

Picture reception 20 years BFTA
© BelgaImage



Overview of 15 years Belgian Foreign Trade Agency

Remote video URL

On December 18th 2018 we celebrated the 15th anniversary of the Belgian Foreign Trade Agency in presence of His Majesty the King, Honorary President of the Agency, and Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid, Representative of His Majesty the King.