Brussels is the main center for commerce and for the distribution of manufactured goods. Other important centers include Antwerp, Liège, and Ghent. Most large wholesale firms engage in import and export. Customary terms of sale are payment within 30–90 days after delivery, depending upon the commodity and the credit rating of the purchaser.
In 1994, the government began privatization efforts of several public sector corporations, including banks and airlines. The domestic market is relatively small. Instead, the economy relies heavily on trade as various industries have capitalized on the country's prime central European location, which serves as a regional transit and distribution center. The country also serves as a vital test market for many European goods and franchises.
Business hours are mainly from 8 or 9 AM to noon, and from 2 to 4:30 PM , Monday through Friday. Banks are open from 9 AM to 4 PM , Monday–Friday. Other private companies are usually open from 8:30 AM to 4 PM , Monday through Friday. Retail stores are generally open from 9 AM to 6 PM . Important international trade fairs are held annually in Brussels and Ghent. Advertising techniques are well developed, and the chief medium is the press. Advertising is prohibited on the national radio and television networks.