Exports Dutch products to EU countries further down

The export of products manufactured in the Netherlands to EU countries is falling into decline. The importance of the EU in total exports of goods is also diminishing, but from an international point of view, the EU is still of vital importance for Dutch exports. Within the EU, Greece is the least EU-oriented as Statistics Netherlands announced today.

Two-thirds of products manufactured in the Netherlands destined for EU countries

Over the period 2002-20014, the share of Dutch exports to countries which are now a part of the EU has shrunk from 75 to 67 percent. This is partly due to rapidly rising exports of, for example, mineral fuels and machinery and equipment to booming, large economies outside the EU, like China and the US. Long-standing EU member states – since 2002 or earlier – entirely account for the downturn in the share of Dutch exports to the EU. Exports to Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom decreased most substantially, whereas the share of Dutch exports to countries which joined the EU after 2002 grew marginally from 3.5 to 5.1 percent. Poland accounts for nearly half of this export growth.

Transit trade more EU-oriented

The European definition of goods exports covers exports of products manufactured in the Netherlands, but also re-exports and goods owned by non-Dutch residents or companies (quasi transit trade). These exports are generally destined for Europe. Therefore, according to the European definition, the Dutch share in exports to EU countries was 76 percent, instead of 67 percent.

EU countries still important destinations

Dutch exports are still very much EU-oriented. Proportionally, the value of exports to EU countries is only higher in Slovakia, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, but it needs to be borne in mind that – from an international point of view – transit trade to EU countries is an important activity for the Netherlands. Greece is the least EU-oriented; 48 percent of Greek exports go to the EU.

Exports to EU countries down in nearly all EU member states

The dwindling interest in the Netherlands for the EU (from 81 to 76 percent) is not exceptional. Less focus on EU countries is a phenomenon found across nearly all countries in the European Union. Only Malta, Bulgaria and Sweden were more EU-oriented in 2014 than in 2002. The most dramatic downturn was recorded in Lithuania (from 69 to 55 percent) and Greece and the United Kingdom (both from 61 to 48 percent).