Agriculture accounts for over half of trade surplus

08/06/2016 15:00
The trade in agricultural goods accounts for 55 percent of the Dutch goods trade surplus. Last year’s agricultural surplus amounted to 26.1 billion (bn) euros, the total goods surplus totalling up to 47.5 bn euros. The agricultural surplus including agriculture-related goods was 30.8 bn euros, i.e. 65 percent of the total surplus according to the Internationalisation Monitor published by Statistics Netherlands.

Agriculture contributes less to trade surplus

Expressed in billions of euros, the growth of the agricultural surplus is slowing down. Proportionally, imports of agricultural products have in fact grown faster since 2000 than exports and the agricultural surplus was larger than the total surplus of goods. The importance of the agricultural sector for the Dutch trade balance was reduced as the trade surplus of other goods, e.g. machinery, equipment and chemical products increased more rapidly. Including agriculture-related goods too, the share of the agriculture in the trade balance is diminishing.

Trade balance goods

Flowers, vegetables, meat, dairy and baby milk powder

Flowers, plants and other ornamental cultivation contribute most to the trade surplus (6.4 bn euros) because exports of cut flowers for floral arrangements, houseplants, flower bulbs and trees are much bigger than imports. Ornamental cultivation is followed by vegetables (surplus of 4.2 bn euros), meat (3.9 bn euros), milk and dairy products (3.7 bn euros) and processed corn, flour and milk (2.3 bn euros). In this last category baby milk powder is one of the main export products to China and Hong Kong. All goods referred to above account for nearly 80 percent of the agricultural trade surplus.
Some agricultural products are much more imported than exported. These are mainly foreign goods which are consumed or processed in the Netherlands and are produced here only on a small scale. The biggest trade deficits are corn (2.0 bn euros), oilseeds and fruits like soya beans (1.3 bn euros), fruit (0.6 bn euros) and coffee, tea and spices (0.5 bn euros).

Goods contributing most to the agricultural trade surplus, 2015

Trade deficit tractors and equipment

Agriculture-related products account for a trade surplus of 4.7 bn euros. The main products contributing to the surplus are: fertilisers (1.4 bn euros), machinery for the food industry (1.2 bn euros), agricultural machinery and equipment (1.0 bn euros) and vaccines for animals (0.6 bn euros). Tractors and agricultural tools and equipment account for a small trade deficit.

Trade balance agriculture-related goods, 2015