The substantial increase in the value of exports resulted in a significantly larger trade surplus in 2006. The value of goods exports was 33.2 billion euro higher than the value of goods imports. The trade surplus grew by 1.7 billion euro.
Exports top 300 billion euro
The trade surplus has been growing sturdily since 1999. The share of this surplus in GDP is also growing. In 1999 it was 2.6 percent, in 2006 it was 6.3 percent.
Exports rose by 13 percent in 2006, to 318 billion euro, topping 300 billion euro for the first time. Imports were 14 percent higher, at 285 billion euro.
Balance of trade as a percentage of GDP
Higher oil prices
The value of imports and exports of mineral fuels rose by 25 and 29 percent respectively in 2006, to 42 and 29 billion euro. This increase was mainly caused by the strong increase in fuel prices, which were nearly 20 percent up. Most exports consist of refined petroleum products exported to Germany, Belgium and the United States.
The highest value was that for imports of crude petroleum from Russia: 7 billion euro. The import values of crude petroleum from Saudi Arabia and Norway have decreased.
Value of imports, by origin
Machines and transport equipment main trade products
Dutch international trade consists mainly of machines and transport equipment. After the oil imports from Russia, imports of computers from China are the second largest import category. Re-exports of these goods, in particular, are a very important component of Dutch international trade.
Value of exports by destination
Germany and Belgium main trade partners
Germany and Belgium are still the main trade partners for the Netherlands. Nineteen percent of total imports came from Germany and 11 percent from Belgium in 2006, with a total value of 87 billion euro. Dutch exports to Germany and Belgium amounted to 79 and 40 billion euro respectively.
The United States is third on the imports list. In 2006 nearly 24 billion euro worth of goods were imported from the US. China is in fourth place with imports worth 23 billion euro.
Dutch exports go mainly to other EU member states. In addition to our direct neighbours, most goods go to the United Kingdom (29 billion euro) and France (26 billion euro). Outside the EU, exports to the US accounts for the largest amount (16 billion euro).