Textiles, electronics and car assembly are identified as the sectors that have been most badly hit.
The daily De Tijd says that the demise of industry in Flanders is part of a global shift. In 1991 36% of the world's manufacturing was done in Europe, while the figure for Asia was 8%. Roles are now reversed with Europe responsible for a quarter of the world's industrial production and Asia good for 31%.
De Tijd says that in Belgium sectors like machinery production, food and chemicals are still buffeting the trend, but identifies a fourth industrial revolution taking place in countries like Germany, Sweden and Austria where smart digital technology is adding value.