The Dutch trade surplus with Sweden, Finland and Austria has increased substantially in recent years. These countries joined the European Union on 1 January 1995.
In the period 1990-1994, the Netherlands had a trade deficit of an average 400 million euro with these three countries. Since then this deficit has been turned into a surplus on the balance of trade worth more than three billion euro in 2001.
The Netherlands imported around five billion euro worth of goods from these countries in 1994. By 2001 this had risen by more than 63 percent to around eight billion euro. Exports to these newcomers were 160 percent higher in 2001 than in 1994, at more than eleven billion euro.
Surprisingly, in spite of the removal of the trade barriers, the increase in Dutch imports of goods from these new EU countries in the period 1995-2001 was smaller than that of total Dutch imports, which increased by 98 percent in this period. Exports, on the other hand did benefit from the common market. They rose by more than total Dutch exports (98 percent) in this period.
A large part of the growth in exports to these three countries is accounted for by the exports of semi-conductors and computers. These goods are not produced in the Netherlands, but imported and re-exported.
Sweden: seventh largest trade partner
The Netherlands imported more than four billion euro worth of goods from Sweden in 2001, and exported five billion worth to this country. Compared with 1995 this is a 69 percent increase in imports and an 82 percent increase in exports. This puts Sweden seventh on the list of largest trade partners within the EU for the Netherlands, for both imports and exports.
Finland: strong rise in exports
Two billion euro worth of goods were imported from Finland in 2001, 57 percent more than in 1995, when Finland joined the EU.
The Netherlands exported just over two billion euro worth of goods to Finland in 2001. Dutch exports to Finland have more than tripled since Finland joined the EU, and Finland is now the tenth largest EU trade partner of the Netherlands for both imports and exports.
Austria: increased trade
Both imports to and exports from Austria rose in 2001. The value of imports was nearly two billion euro (+14 percent). Since Austria joined the EU, Dutch imports from this country have risen by 58 percent and exports have increased by more than 150 percent. Austria was the eleventh largest EU trade partner for imports and eighth for exports in 2001.