International investment position

In 2017, Belgiumʹs international investment position compared to the rest of the world represented 52.6% of gross domestic product. There is no sustainable development goal for the international investment position.

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International investment position - Belgium and international comparison

percentage of gross domestic product

//: Average Growth Rates

National Bank of Belgium; Eurostat (2018), International investment position [tipsii10], (consulted on 15/10/2018).

Definition: the international investment position provides an aggregated overview at a certain moment in time of Belgium’s net financial position (assets minus liabilities) compared to the rest of the world. The indicator is expressed as a percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP). The data for Belgium are collected by the National Bank of Belgium. To enable a comparison with the other EU Member States, data are provided by Eurostat.

Goal: it is not possible to determine an optimal level for the international investment position.

The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs adopted by the UN in 2015 include target 17.13: “Enhance global macroeconomic stability including through policy coordination and policy coherence”.

The Federal Long-Term Strategic Vision for Sustainable Development contains objective 45: “Belgium will reach a situation in which its trade and financial relationships with other countries are balanced” (Belgian Official Gazette, 08/10/2013).

International comparison: in 2017, the international investment position (in percentage of GDP) of Belgium (52.6%) is slightly lower than in Germany (54.0%) and the Netherlands (59.7%). Although Belgium’s position is close to the level of its two neighbouring countries, the growth of the indicator in Belgium was considerably slower in the course of time. In France, the indicator has been negative since 2005, which indicates that France’s debts compared to the rest of the world are higher than its assets.

UN indicator: the selected indicator does not correspond to any monitoring indicator for the SDGs but is related to target 17.13. Balanced trade and financial relationships contribute to macroeconomic stability on a global scale.


  • SDGs, Sustainable Development Goals: United Nations (2015), Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015, document A/RES/70/1.

  • Indicators: United Nations (2017), Work of the Statistical Commission pertaining to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 6 July 2017, document A/RES/71/313.

  • UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform: (consulted on 23/10/2018).

  • Sustainable Development Goal indicators website: (consulted on 23/10/2018).

This indicator is also included in another database of the Federal Planning Bureau, additionally providing regional data for Belgium: the indicators of the innovation system.

More information is available in FR (French) and NL (Dutch).