Sharp increase in trade surplus sector services

The value of services exported by the Netherlands in 2004 amounted to 59.1 billion euro, a 6 percent increase on 2003. The value of imported services rose only marginally in 2004 to 55.9 billion euro. The trade surplus of international services rose sharply from half a billion euro in 2003 to 3.3 billion euro in 2004.

Trade surplus international services

Strong growth in transport services

In 2004 the value of exports of transport services was 15 percent higher than in 2003. Imports rose by 10 percent. This resulted in a positive trade balance of 4.4 billion euro, nearly one billion euro higher than last year. International trade in goods largely accounts for the increase. The value of imports as well as exports of goods was 10 percent up on 2003. Nearly half of imported transport services come from the EU. With 8 percent, the US also play an important part. The share of the EU in exports of transport services is over 52 percent, the share of the US is 11 percent.

International trade in services

Fewer Dutch travel abroad

The tourist traffic balance provides a reversed picture compared to transport services: the Netherlands is a net payer. The deficit was 4.3 billion euro in 2004. Over 2002 the deficit amounted to 5.7 billion euro. It was mainly due to the fact that Dutch travelling abroad outnumber foreigners coming to the Netherlands.

Tourist traffic to the Netherlands grew 2 percent in 2004 compared to the previous year. Inbound tourist traffic from Germany  fell by 4 percent last year compared to 2003. The balance of tourist traffic with Germany is nevertheless positive. Traditionally, Germans constitute the largest group of foreigners coming to the Netherlands. Two fifths of total inbound tourist traffic are Germans.

Outbound tourist traffic declined 3 percent in 2004. Fewer people travelled to France. Total value of tourist traffic to France declined by 15 percent.

Tourist traffic, top 10 countries outbound tourist traffic

Share EU in exports of services dwindling

The share of exports of services from the Netherlands to the other EU countries is less sizeable than in international goods trade; 58 percent of services were exported to EU countries in 2004, the share in exports of goods was 78 percent. The EU share in imports of services was 63 percent, as against 57 percent for imports of goods. Re-exports, common in international goods trade, largely account for the disparities. Re-exports mainly concern imports of goods from countries outside the EU which are exported to EU countries, mostly in unprocessed condition.

Trade in goods four times as high

The Netherlands has a service-based economy. In 2004 the share of output of services in the gross domestic product (GDP) increased to over 73 percent. The share of services in total international trade is considerably lower. The value of international trade in goods has been about four times as high as international trade in services for years. 

Ger Moritz