The main opportunities lie in counter terrorism, critical infrastructure protection and organised crime (including cyber crime).
Security is increasingly becoming a concern for both political authorities and citizens. The Belgian market for safety and security equipment and services has grown significantly in recent years. The growing feeling of insecurity and the presence of several international organisations (EU and NATO, to name but a few) and a large diplomatic community in Brussels have increased the demand for sophisticated security equipment and guarding services.
But there are several other factors:
Large critical infrastructure: Antwerp is Europe’s second largest port and the world’s largest petrochemical cluster after Houston. Police, customs and excise, intelligence agencies and private operators are faced with the same threats: port security, the fight against drug trafficking, contraband, illegal immigration and fraud. There is an ongoing programme to acquire the latest technologies and services and to train staff.
The police services were revamped in 2003, and the process is still ongoing, with substantial new investment in all parts of the organisation. New legislation removing barriers to wider use of covert investigation, both by police and intelligence services, has been introduced.
The prison system is often outdated, and faced with overpopulation.
According to the sector federation APEG-BVBO the yearly consolidated revenue in safety and security services accounts for around 600 million Euro. The UK is seen, on the whole, as a centre of excellence for advanced security products and as such buyers/end-users are generally open to receiving information/samples on products.
UKTI has identified four main sectors that match Belgian need to UK capability:
Terrorist/Civil Disorder Response
Getting into the market
Selling into this market requires a specialised partner, with good business connections and a track record in the security sector. Most contracts are tenders, and call for extensive product testing and demonstrations, which can only be achieved with a permanent local presence, and a good understanding of the decision-making process (which can be slow). Agents are often used for highly specialised technical equipment.
Distributors are the main sales channel for standard equipment which may require in-country servicing and emergency stocks. Ad-hoc partnerships with systems integrators and general contractors are often used for project-based supplies and services.
Public administrations and governments departments are bound to public procurement rules, and purchase through public or restricted tender. Only minor requirements or exceptional technical projects are purchased through negotiated contracts.
It is important that any UK defence / security company seeking to export equipment has the necessary export licence clearances from BIS Export Control Organisation. Companies should also check with the Ministry of Defence whether they require an F680 to market their equipment to Turkey. UKTI DSO will not provide support if a company does not have the necessary F680 clearances.
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists based overseas – or contact your local international trade team.
Filip Van Kerckhofen, British Embassy Belgium. Tel: +32 (0)287 62 34 or email: Filip.vanKerckhoven@fco.gov.uk
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.
Police equipment show, held every 2 years. Next edition due in May 2015.
Website address: http://www.infopol.be/