China pushes up Dutch trade with Asia

The Netherlands imported more than 50 billion euro worth of goods fromAsia in 2004. This is an increase of 18 percent . Exports to Asia rose by 20 percent to just over 18 billion euro. Over 22 percent of total Dutch imports now come from Asia, while 7 percent of Dutch exports go to these countries. Imports from China in particular have risen strongly.  

By way of comparison: in 2004 the total value of Dutch goods trade, both import and exports, rose by just over 10 percent.

Trade with Asia

Increase continues in 2005

The upward trend continued into the first three months of 2005. Imports from Asia rose by 9 percent in the period January to March 2005, to 13 billion euro. Exports to Asia topped 4 billion euro in the same period.

Substantial trade deficit

The Netherlands has had a substantial trade deficit with Asian countries for a long time now. In 2004 this deficit rose to more than 32 billion euro. By comparison, total Dutch goods trade generated a net trade surplus of more than 29 billion euro. Trade with the European Union resulted in a trade surplus of nearly 70 billion euro.

Balance of trade with Asia, 2004

More and more trade with China

Imports from and exports to China have more than doubled in the last five years. In the first three months of 2005, too,  trade with China increased.

Imports rose by nearly 30 percent in this period to just over 4 billion euro. In other words more than 7 percent of all Dutch imports come from China. Exports to China also increased in the period January-March 2005: more than half a billion euro worth of goods were exported to China, 20 percent more than in the same period last year.

Trade with China

More containers to China

Container transport between Rotterdam and China (excluding Hong Kong) was 46 percent higher in 2004 than in 2003. The total number of containers on this route topped 1 million for the first time. More than 50 percent of  these containers travel by road to and from Rotterdam, from and to the Netherlands and the European hinterland. This means that every day nearly 800 lorries with an average two containers are on their way to or from Rotterdam, with goods destined for or originating from China.

Number of containers via Rotterdam

China speeding towards top three

China is by far the most important Dutch trade partner in the Asian region. It is also fast on its way to becoming one of the top three import countries of the Netherlands. China entered the top five for the first time in 2004 (at the expense of France). In the first three months of 2005 China also overtook the United Kingdom and climbed to fourth place.

Wiel Packbier and Marly Odekerken