Exports unchanged in 2003

The value of goods exported from the Netherlands was nearly exactly the
samein 2003 as in 2002, at 234.4 billion euro. Imports were nearly 1 percent lower thanin 2002 at 204.4 billion euro. The prices ofimports and exports fell slightly, according to provisional figures from Statistics Netherlands. In 2002 imports and exports were 6 and 4 percent respectivelylower than in the preceding year.

Strong fall in trade of beverages and tobacco

The international trade in beverages and tobacco decreased relatively sharply in 2003.Imports were 7 percent lower than in 2002 at 2.4 billion euro, while exports were also 7 percent lower and amounted to 5.7 billion euro.

The value of imported mineral fuels and lubricants in particular were higherin 2003: it rose by 2 percent from 2002, to 21.1 billion euro.The strongest
increase in exports in relative terms was for raw materials (excluding fuels and food).The value of these items rose by 4 percentin 2003 to 12.6 billion euro.

Less trade with United Kingdom

There was a noticeable drop in the value of exports to the United Kingdom in 2003. Exports fell by 6 percent to 23.9 billion euro. Imports from the United Kingdom fell by 10 percent to 14.8 billion euro. The value of sterling also fell by 10 percent against the euro in this period.

With respect to imports from outside Europe, trade with the United States and China showed noticeable developments. In 2003 imports from China were 17 percent higher than in 2002. Imports from the United States on the other hand were 12 percent lower.

Imports and exports higher in December 2003

In the last month of 2003 the values of both imports and exports were higher than in December 2002.The value of imports rose by 6 percent, that of exports by 2 percent. This was the first time since March 2003 that imports increased.