"We are Trump's partners"

Belgian foreign trade secretary Pieter De Crem has said that the election of Donald J. Trump as the next president of the United States will have little negative impact on our trade with the US. "We are Trump's partners. Things can only improve" he told VRT News.

In Europe many are worried about Mr Trump's America First approach, but the Belgian foreign trade secretary believes little will change in our trade relations with the US: "The US remains our largest trade partner outside the EU."

"Last year we exported over 25 million euros. These exports also involve investments in the US. This should be music to the ears of Mr Trump as he believes more should be invested and produced in the US itself. We employ a lot of people in the US: some 150,000. As greater employment is a priority for President Trump, well I believe we are partners and our bonds should be strengthened."

Mr De Crem conceded that the talks on the TTIP free trade agreement were now on the back burner, but insisted the spirit of TTIP would not disappear. Many positive elements will remain. It is promising for Belgian investments in the US and vice versa."

"We will return from Texas with a full order book!"

Next month Mr De Crem will be returning to the US at the head of a trade mission to Texas. Here there are important clusters of pharmaceutical and petrochemical businesses, which make up the lion's share of Belgian investments.

Mr De Crem is not worried that in a protectionist reflex the Americans will want to take charge of production themselves: "Our know-how and productivity are very important in order to modernise their industrial infrastructure."

"Historically we are so imbedded in the US economy that I only see improvements. We will return from Texas with a full order book!"