The United States still play a leading role on the world stage. Political, military, economic, cultural and scientific developments in the US have consequences for the whole world and therefore also for Flanders. Besides Flanders’ obvious general interest in the U.S., there are also more specific areas of importance in the country. Firstly, the U.S. is Flanders' most important trading partner outside Europe. For years, the U.S. has also been a primary investor in Flanders. In addition, the U.S. is a growth market within the tourism sector.
The U.S. is also a sought after destination for Flemish students and researchers. The country plays first fiddle when it comes to the field of research and development, and many American knowledge institutions are among the best in the world. Given the importance the U.S. attributes to modern visual arts and the considerable interest in classical art, they have many contacts within the sector. Furthermore, the U.S. is the headquarters for a number of international organisations that are important to Flanders, not least the headquarters of the United Nations (UN) in New York. The U.S. offers many opportunities for future cooperation in these fields, but there are also opportunities in other areas based on the strengths of our region (e.g. logistics, water management, urban policy, health care, climate change and energy).
In November 2016, the Government of Flanders adopted a strategy paper in which they put forward seven key objectives in building relations with the U.S. The network of individual services in the U.S. is the main instrument used to achieve these objectives, going under the name ‘Team Flanders USA’.