Holland is a trading nation. We grew through trade, and we are still very much relevant around the world. The Netherlands is dotted with distribution centers, warehouses and customs warehouses. In all these places, money is made from the import, transit and sale of goods. This blog provides insight into the size and origin of Dutch imports and exports based on data from Statistics Netherlands for 2018 and 2019.
The state of the trade balance
First things first, it is good to take stock. What went in and out of the country? The Netherland exports more good than it imports, namely € 516 billion to € 459 billion (2019 figures). Most trade is conducted with the rest of the European Union. In total, exports generate approximately € 250 billion for the Netherlands. In terms of employment, it provides about 2.3 million full-time jobs.
Dutch imports mainly came from Germany, Belgium and China. Exports from our country mainly went to Germany, Belgium and the United Kingdom. Machinery, chemicals and mineral fuels are the most important products traded in both import and export. See the CBS report ‘Nederland Handelsland’ for more information.
Relative to the size of the Netherlands, we import a lot. In the 2017 figures, we are 10th in the world, above countries such as India, Italy and Australia.
Netherlands transit country?
In recent decades, re-exports and transit have grown significantly. Re-export means that goods temporarily become Dutch property (often minimal processing is carried out) before they are re-exported. That is why re-exports are included in the import and export figures, but transit is not. In transit, it is only skipped or temporarily stored. The items remain in foreign hands. Almost 60 percent of the goods imported into the Netherlands leave our country again. 275 billion kg of goods are in transit and 98 billion kg are re-exported. The Netherlands is therefore becoming a transit country.
Dependence on China
The Netherlands imports a lot from China, a lot. The Chinese share of imports has steadily increased over the years. While the percentage was 0.5 percent in 1988, it was 9 percent in 2018. In that year, the Netherlands imported 39.2 billion euros worth of Chinese goods. Two thirds of this was exported unprocessed to other countries (think of transit and re-exports). Imports for final use (end products for the consumer) amounted to 5.2 billion. This concerns goods such as toys, clothing, electronics (laptops, tablets, telephones, etc.). In order to maintain our consumer society, we need China.
Import; there is trade in that
As you can see, there are astronomical amounts of money involved in imports and exports. The Netherlands is not a small boy on the world stage. The position of our country is very competitive. The domestic sales market and the facilities and expertise that the Netherlands has in transit and re-exports offer countless business opportunities. But getting started in this world is difficult without a network and knowledge of legislation and regulations. Ademar B.V. from Rotterdam is a customs broker with more than 40 years of experience in the trade. Their experts can guide you and help you take the first steps as an entrepreneur.