Goods exports to Germany declining

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In the first seven months of 2023, the value of goods exports to Germany fell by 4.2 percent to 93.8 billion euros, relative to the same period in 2022. Approximately 60 percent of the goods exports to Germany concerned re-exports (56.5 billion euros). Domestic exports decreased by 889 million euros (2.3 percent) while re-exports fell by 3.2 million euros (5.4 percent). This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) based on an analysis of the trade figures.

Over the entire year 2022, the value of exports to Germany still grew by 41.6 percent, due in part to the strong economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic and increasing export prices.

The largest declines in Dutch domestic exports to our eastern neighbour concerned chemical products (just under 1.2 billion euros), followed by mineral fuels (356 million euros) and animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes (239 million euros).

In re-exports, mineral fuel exports declined the most in value (-2.1 billion euros), followed by iron and steel exports (-555 million euros). Crude oil and other fuels were cheaper in 2023, resulting in lower prices of export products manufactured using these fuels relative to 2022.

Goods exports to Germany, monthly data
JaarMaandDomestic exports (bn euros)Re-exports (bn euros)
*Provisional figures

According to figures released by the Federal Statistical Office of Germany (Destatis), German economic growth is stagnating. Germany is Europe’s largest economy as well as the Netherlands’ most important trading partner. The importance of the German economy for the Netherlands becomes even more evident by looking at the export earnings (value added) and the supply chains.

Importance of Germany for the Dutch economy

In 2020, exports of goods and services to Germany earned the Netherlands altogether 55.7 billion euros, which contributed 6.4 percent to the Dutch gross domestic product (GDP). This was still 7.7 percent in 1995. Direct exports to Germany generated a total of 45.1 billion euros in 2020. The Netherlands earned approximately 10.6 billion euros from indirect exports. Indirect earnings are generated by exporting goods or services to Germany that have first been processed or consumed in third countries.

How and how much does the Netherlands earn from exporting goods and services to Germany?Figure showing how and how much the Netherlands earns from exports to Germany. Direct export earnings 45.1 billion euros Indirect export earnings (via third countries) 10.6 billion euros This makes a total of 55.7 billion euros, of which 42.1 billion euros is due to consumption in Germany and 13.6 billion euros is due to consumption in other countries. Consumption Source: OECD, own calculations services to Germany? €42.1bn €10.6bn Indirect exports €45.1bn Exports to Germany €13.6bn Consumption elsewhere

42 billion earned from German consumers and businesses

Over three quarters of the Netherlands’ export earnings from Germany, 42.1 billion euros, derive from German domestic expenditure; for example, spending by German households on Dutch domestic food products, including those that have undergone processing in Germany. The Dutch manufacturing sector earned 11 billion euros from German domestic expenditure; wholesale trade earned 8.7 billion euros and business services 6.8 billion euros. The largest earners among Dutch manufacturers are the oil industry (2.7 billion), the chemical industry (2.1 billion) and the food industry (2.0 billion).

13.6 billion earned from German exports

Nearly a quarter of Dutch export earnings to Germany, 13.6 billion, comprises exports that are incorporated into German exports of goods and services to other countries (1.6 percent of Dutch GDP in 2020). Germany is an important gateway to markets outside the European Union for the Netherlands. Nearly 8.5 billion euros (62 percent) of the export earnings from Germany is generated through consumption outside the EU.

The Netherlands earns more than 1.6 billion euros from German exports that incorporate Dutch products and end up in the United States, accounting for 11.8 percent of the total. The second largest final destination after the US is China, generating 1.3 billion euros (9.3 percent) for the Netherlands. 429 million euros (3.2 percent) of the export earnings due to exports beyond Germany are eventually consumed within the Netherlands. An example are Dutch-manufactured car parts incorporated into passenger cars at German factories that are eventually bought by Dutch households.

Final destination of Dutch exports going beyond Germany, 2020
 Value added (million euros)
United States1603
United Kingdom726
South Korea203

In 2020, the Dutch manufacturing sector earned 4.2 billion euros from exports to Germany; wholesale trade earned 2.5 billion euros and business services 2.1 billion euros. Dutch manufacturing industries earning the most from Germany’s exports included the chemical industry with nearly 1.4 billion euros and the oil industry with 693 million euros.