Car industry ponders mass pullout from Belgium

6th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

6 May 2004, BRUSSELS - Up to a quarter of the companies currently working in the automobile industry in Belgium are seriously considering quitting the country, threatening tens of thousands of jobs, it was reported on Thursday.

6 May 2004

BRUSSELS - Up to a quarter of the companies currently working in the automobile industry in Belgium are seriously considering quitting the country, threatening tens of thousands of jobs, it was reported on Thursday.

According to a new survey by two Belgian industry federations - Agoria and Febiac - around a quarter of firms active in the automotive sector are looking into the possibility of shifting all or part of their operations abroad, essentially to locations in eastern Europe or Asia. 

Analysts say high labour costs are among the main reasons the industry is likely to be considering such moves.

The new survey does not only cover carmakers but also firms that depend directly on the car industry for their existence. These include companies that make spare parts.

A total of 68 companies took part in the Agoria and Febiac study, and over half of them said they had plans to expand their activities in the near future.

But the worry as far as Belgium is concerned is that a large percentage of these firms do not necessarily seem to be thinking about increasing their operations here.

There are around 300 companies directly linked to the car industry operating in Belgium today.

In total they employ around 100,000 people.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news

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