Minister presented with ‘Dutch Trade in Facts and Figures 2022’ publication

/ Author: Miriam van der Sangen
The Netherlands is a trading nation
© Sjoerd van der Hucht Fotografie
On 31 August 2022 Liesje Schreinemacher, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, was presented with the new Statistics Netherlands (CBS) publication ‘Dutch Trade in Facts and Figures 2022’. This high-quality publication was developed by the Expertise Centre for Globalisation at CBS on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It includes the latest trends and annually recurring key figures and indicators for the Dutch economy and business economy.

Latest developments

Marjolijn Jaarsma was closely involved in the production of the publication as project manager and senior editor and gave a presentation on it during the meeting with the Minister. She outlined the latest developments that are having a major impact on the Netherlands’ international trade: “Examples include Brexit, the coronavirus pandemic, rising prices and tax changes affecting the financial flows of multinationals established in the Netherlands. But as far as possible we have also included the effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the beginning of 2022 in the publication.”

Trade in goods and services

The publication – to which many economic sectors of CBS contributed, together with De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) – consists of seven descriptive chapters, illustrated with many figures, infographics and tables. These chapters present the key trends, figures and developments in 2021. Where possible, they also look ahead to 2022. ‘Dutch Trade in Facts and Figures 2022’ has also undergone a number of changes compared to last year. Daniël Herbers, also a project manager and senior editor of the publication, said: “A separate chapter has been included on the value of goods trade in 2021, for example. The publication also focuses on developments in the value of service trade in 2021 and the operators engaged in trade in goods and services. For the first time it includes a description of the occupations associated with Dutch exports of goods and services.”


All kinds of international developments in 2021 and 2022 have had a major impact on Dutch goods and service trade. “Take Brexit, for example. Since 2016 – the year of the Brexit referendum – we have seen a slowdown in the growth of goods exports to the United Kingdom. On 1 January 2021 a trade agreement came into force with the United Kingdom, bringing changes to the trade rules. This has particularly affected re-exports of products from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom. These trade flows are now less often routed through the Netherlands and more often go directly from Asia to the United Kingdom, for example. Exports consequently fell in 2021,” said Marjolijn Jaarsma.

The Netherlands is a trading nation
© Hollandse Hoogte / Peter Hilz

Coronavirus crisis

The coronavirus crisis, which broke out in March 2020, has also had a major impact on the Dutch economy. “We see that 2021 was mainly a year of recovery for international trade in goods. Trade in services – including expenditure by foreign travellers in the Netherlands and by Dutch travellers abroad, for example – did not recover as quickly, however, and sank even further in 2020 and much of 2021. This was due particularly to travel restrictions and lockdowns. Changes to tax regulations in the Netherlands also led to a decrease in certain service flows. An improvement in service trade can be seen at the beginning of 2022, but not yet to the pre-coronavirus crisis level.”

Prices and inflation

Prices have soared worldwide, partly as a result of shortages, disrupted value chains and strong demand for certain products following the coronavirus crisis. Inflation has been very high since the end of 2021. Consumer prices were almost 10 percent higher in April 2022 than in 2021. Manufacturing output prices were even up by an average of 29 percent on the previous year. These high output prices then push consumer inflation up further. Import prices were therefore much higher and many industrial producers (for example in the petroleum, chemical and food industries) have passed on the rises in their selling prices.

War in Ukraine

Another major event impacting international trade is the war in Ukraine. “Dutch goods exports to Ukraine have fallen sharply in value since March 2022,” said Marjolijn Jaarsma. “For example, the value of exports to Ukraine in March this year was 84 percent lower than in the same month in 2021. Exports to Russia have shrunk by 67 percent as a result of the sanctions. Imports from Ukraine have also fallen. These are mainly imports of maize and sunflower oil. The value of imports from Russia has risen, however, due to the rising prices of mineral fuels such as natural gas and oil and commodities such as copper, nickel and aluminium.”