The Directorate of Economic Interests of the FPS Foreign Affairs (B3)

 

The Directorate of Economic Interests of the FPS Foreign Affairs (B3) plays an important role in economic diplomacy and supports other regional and federal stakeholders involved in economic diplomacy.

Its action can be summarised in 4 "I's":

  1. Inform
  2. Introduce
  3. Intervene
  4. Image.

 
Inform

The Directorate of Economic Interests (B3) of the FPS Foreign Affairs ensures a continuous flow of information between all parties involved in economic diplomacy, including the Belgian business community abroad.

Therefore, Directorate B3 and the Belgian diplomatic posts inform Belgian companies of opportunities abroad, for example via the Trade4U service managed by the Foreign Trade Agency. 

This information mission extends to the Investment Liaison Cell where Directorate B3 is based, alongside the Regions and the FPS Finance and Economy.

 
Introduce

The Directorate of Economic Interests (B3) of the FPS Foreign Affairs supports our companies abroad and helps them to enter the foreign market. B3 and our diplomatic posts support our companies in their efforts to make them known and assist them in their efforts, in consultation with the regional representatives.

Beside the Royal Palace, Directorate B3 is also the main organiser of the two annual State visits led by His Majesty King Philippe. In accordance with the wishes of our Sovereign, these State visits include an important economic component that brings our business leaders into contact with top-level decision-makers in the host country.

Directorate B3 also coordinates, with the regional export promotion agencies and the Belgian Foreign Trade Agency (FTA), the organisation of Belgian economic missions chaired by Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid, Representative of His Majesty the King. Each year, there are two such Belgian economic missions. They are very popular amongst Belgian companies, who see them as an opportunity to meet key people to tackle a new market or to consolidate their position in it. The agenda of these missions is available on the website of the Foreign Trade Agency (FTA).

The B3 Directorate and the posts also support an extensive network of Belgian Chambers of Commerce around the world. These chambers are the result of private initiatives. They owe their existence and stability to compatriots wishing to improve, facilitate and develop the presence of Belgian (and Luxembourgian) companies abroad. In addition to the Chambers of Commerce, there are also many Belgian Business Clubs abroad. These have a less formal structure and carry out more ad hoc and limited activities than the Chambers of Commerce. The Belgian Embassy or Consulate General will also be able to confirm the existence of a Belgian Chamber of Commerce or Business Club in its jurisdiction. Directorate B3 also manages the network of Economic Diplomacy Advisers, whose mission is to support our diplomatic posts. In this way, they provide them with their knowledge of the local political and economic context. 

 
Intervene

In order to safeguard the interests of our companies, the Directorate of Economic Interests (B3) of the FPS Foreign Affairs intervenes in a range of areas.

After consultation between the federal and regional levels, B3 represents Belgium on the European Market Access Advisory Committee (MAAC). This committee enables us to report to the European Commission on the obstacles that our companies have to face in third countries. 

B3 also monitors economic agreements within the FPS Foreign Affairs. These include social security agreements and agreements designed to avoid double taxation, in collaboration with the FPS Social Security and the FPS Finance respectively. Directorate B3 is also responsible for bilateral investment agreements.  

In addition, B3 monitors the Kimberley Process and coordinates the actions of the FPS Foreign Affairs with regard to due diligence.

 
Image

Furthermore, Directorate B3 also intends to promote Belgium's positive image abroad through support for diplomatic posts in the organisation and financing of public image projects. Consequently, around 200 events are organised each year throughout the world, thereby contributing to a better perception of Belgium by policymakers, opinion-makers and the broader public in other countries.

The economic missions and state visits organised by Directorate B3 also include an important “image” component, which contributes to the influence of our country abroad.

The “lend-a-residence” formula enables a company, organisation or even an individual to promote its activities in the Head of post's residence, subject to his or her authorisation and within the framework of “terms and conditions” to be mutually determined with the organiser.