Trade surplus rises to 14.6 billion euro

The Dutch surplus on the balance of trade was 31 percent higher in the first six months of 2002 than in the same period last year. Exported goods were worth 14.6 billion euro more than imported goods.

Imports fall more sharply than exports

The increase in the trade surplus was mainly caused by the strong decrease in imports: the value of imported goods fell by 10 percent in the first half of 2002, to 102 billion euro. The value of exports was 6 percent down at 116.5 billion euro.

Surplus up

The value of imported machines in particular dropped sharply: by 3.1 billion euro. These are mostly computers imported into the Netherlands and then re-exported. Exports of computers were also down, although by significantly less. On balance this surplus rose by most: 1.4 billion euro.

International trade in organic chemical products (carboxylic acids, for example, are an important export product), optical instruments (mainly high quality lenses used in the manufacture of computer chips), cars and tobacco also contributed hundreds of millions of euros to the increase in the trade surplus.


As export values of fuels (mainly petroleum), electrical equipment (mainly mobile phones) synthetics, footwear and aviation products (mainly aircraft) showed a sharp drop, these pushed down the trade surplus. The exports of fuels and electrical machines, in particular, decreased strongly, by 2.7 and 3.1 billion euro respectively. This lessened the surplus on the balance of trade by 876 and 766 million euro.

Changes in trade surpluses, 1st half year 2001-2002

Fewer goods from the United States

In the first half of this year imports of goods from the United States in particular fell strongly. In the first six months of 2001 the Netherlands imported 11.4 billion euro worth of goods from the US. In the first half of this year this was only 9.5 billion. Exports to this country on the other hand have increased. The trade deficit was reduced from –6.0 to -3,9 billion euro. The deficits on the trade balances with China, Japan, Norway, Taiwan, Ireland en Saudi -Arabia have dropped sharply.

Trade deficits with some countries, 1st half year 2001-2002

Less to Germany, more to UK

The trade surplus with Germany was nearly 22 percent down at 9.0 billion euro, while the surplus with United Kingdom was nearly 21 percent up at 4.4 billion euro. The trade surpluses with France, Italy and Belgium were significantly lower than the levels of twelve months previously.

Trade surpluses with some countries, 1st half year 2001-2002

Evrim Onat