Trade gap with China nearly 8 billion euro

The trade deficit of the Netherlands with China rose to 8 billion euro in the first eleven months of 2003. Imports from China were worth about six times as much as exports.

In 2002 the deficit was 7.4 billion euro for the whole year. Indeed, since 2002, the deficit with China is the largest of all the countries the Netherlands trades with. Before 2002 this was the US. The deficit with China, which is still one of the fastest growing economies in the world in spite of the SARS epidemic, is now twice the size of the Netherlands’ deficit with the US or Japan.

Trade deficit with China

Trade deficit with China

Imports in particular rising

The Netherlands imported more than 9 billion euro worth of goods from China in the first eleven months of 2003. This is nearly 15 percent more than in the same period in 2002. Exports to China rose by more than 7 percent in the same period, to nearly 1.5 billion euro. This widened the trade gap with China to nearly 8 billion euro.

The share of Chinese goods in total Dutch imports has now risen to 5 percent. In 1996, it was only just over 1 percent. China has now risen to sixth place on the list of main import countries for the Netherlands.

China biggest trade partner in Asia

The Netherlands imported more than 38 billion euro worth of goods from the whole of Asia in the first eleven months of 2003. Nearly one quarter of these imports came from China. Japan came second with a share of just over 15 percent. Until 2000 most imports from Asia came from Japan.

The Netherlands exported nearly 14 billion euro worth of goods to Asia in the period January to November 2003. China, which received 10 percent of these exports, was in second place, after Japan, where 14 percent of Dutch goods went.

Computers main imported product

Computers account for more than one quarter of the value of imports, 2.5 billion euro. This is 36 percent more than in the first eleven months of 2002. Other important imported products are clothes (0.7 billion euro; +8 percent), telecommunications equipment (0.7 billion euro; +53 percent), computer parts (0.6 billion euro; unchanged) and toys (0.3 billion euro; +6 percent).

Together these products account for more than half of the value of imports from China. The Netherlands functions as an international distribution centre for these goods: a substantial share are re-exported to other European countries.

Imports of computers

Imports of computers

Exports: machines and chemicals

The value of goods exported to China rose by 7 percent in the first eleven months of 2003. Machines and chemical products account for two-thirds of Dutch exports to China. In the first eleven months of 2003, 0.6 billion euro worth of machines were exported (+16 percent). Exports of chemical products rose by 8 percent to 0.4 billion euro.

Wiel Packbier

Source: StatLine (Dutch only)