It was a tight one but France ultimately beat Belgium in the knockout stages of this yeas world cup, however, no love lost – as two of the founding members of what is not the EU, these two francophone nations share a long, and common history with one another.
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Being geographical neighbours both France and Belgium have shared a long and cooperative relationship. The two nations officially began their diplomatic engagement when Belgium gained its independence from the Northern Netherlands what is today Holland on October 4th 1830, thus forming the Belgian National Congress who was tasked in drawing up a constitution. The nation settled on a constitutional monarchy. Although in favour of the proletariat of the time, the constitution of Belgium severely limited the voting rights to the French-speaking
Relations between the two nations were strengthened as time passed with both nations being pivotal to the development and defence of Europe. Both nations are members of NATO, the international organisation of Francophone countries (Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie) as well as being founding members of the EU. Their cooperation and leadership, especially during the genesis of the European Project, was crucial in the formation of its structure and ideas.
The trading relations between France and Belgium is perhaps a good case study that reflects a healthy and robust commodity trade balance. In other words, neither Belgium nor France are heavily reliant on one or a group of commodities in its trade balance with the other country. Moreover, neither are they reliant on the other for their export markets. Unlike a nation such as Brazil which is heavily reliant on 3 or 4 commodities exported to the Asian market including Animal products and natural resources.
France is the 6th largest exporter in the world, with Belgium being Frances second largest export market, exporting 7.4% of its goods equalling an export value of $36.7bn in 2016, the first being Germany.
Belgium’s trading relations are a lot more equal, its three largest trading partners all capture 13% of Belgium exports, they include Germany, the Netherlands and France with a trade value of roughly $41bn each.
Frances exports to Belgium include (2016);
· Cars – 9.7% – Trade Value: $3.56bn
· Chemical Products – 8% – Trade Value: $6.24bn
· Machines – 5% – Trade Value: $ 4.38bn
Belgium’s exports to France include (2016);
· Petroleum Gas – 13% – Trade Value: $5.49bn
· Cars – 3.6% – Trade Value: $1.48bn
· Human or Animal Blood – 2.6% – Trade Value: $1.07bn