7.3.8RECOMMENDATION 8: KNOWLEDGE-INTENSIVE SERVICES

Taking into account the characteristics of the Flemish economy and its growth and innovation potential, VARIO selects knowledge-intensive services as a lever for future growth. Flanders is lagging in terms of the share of knowledge-intensive services in total exports, while trade in services is growing 60 percent faster than that in goods. We refer to the financial and business services, maritime services, (service) design, research, technical services (IT, Telecommunications...)... partly based on their contribution to the competitiveness of other sectors, such as in high-tech (see above). A number of these services are also internationally scalable as a result of digitization (including AI, digital services related to data…) and potentially have a great deal of economic added value. We need to gain better understanding of the current needs, opportunities and growth areas of this group of companies, including many SMEs, to further stimulate the knowledge-intensive service sectors to innovate and internationalize (analogous to the industrial sectors). Here too VLAIO and FIT have a role to play.