Trade with the UK continues to grow

© Hollandse Hoogte
Goods trade between the Netherlands and the UK has continued to increase since the British referendum on 23 June. Both import and export values were up in the four months after the referendum compared to the same period in 2015. The export value of a number of goods, including machinery and food, did decline. These are some developments reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) at the launch of a special Brexit Monitor.
The total value of the goods exported by the Netherlands to the UK between July and October this year stood at over 13 billion euros, an increase of more than 5 percent relative to the same months in 2015. Approximately half of these exports were goods manufactured in the Netherlands. The total export value of Dutch-manufactured goods increased by more than 2 percent relative to the previous year, while the value of re-exports rose by nearly 9 percent in the same period this year.
Since the referendum, goods imports from the UK had a total value of over 7.5 billion euros, which represents an increase of nearly 3 percent year-on-year.

Higher export value chemical products and fuels

In the first four months after the referendum, the export value of chemical products, mineral fuels and other raw materials was higher than in the same months in 2015. The increase may be due to higher output prices, as well as the devaluation of the British pound. Such goods account for over one-third of the total export value, and approximately half are Dutch domestic products.
Machinery exports to the UK had a total value of 3.1 billion euros, dropping by nearly 6 percent year-on-year. Re-exportation of these goods declined by 7 percent while exports of domestically produced machinery declined by 2 percent. Exports of manufactured goods declined by 3 percent. Food and beverages – mainly Dutch-produced – declined by over 4 percent, ending at an export value of slightly under 2.2 billion euros.

UK share in Dutch goods exports up again

The United Kingdom is the third largest export destination for the Netherlands after Germany and Belgium. Exports to the UK were relatively hard hit by the recession of 2009; this was followed by a period of recovery, which has been more rapid than that of total Dutch goods exports since 2011. Exports to the UK reached their highest value ever in 2016.
The UK share in total Dutch goods exports fell in the period 2002 – 2011 from 11 to 8 percent, but has increased since then to 9 percent in 2016. For the moment, the result of the Brexit referendum seems to have little impact on the growing importance of the UK to Dutch goods exports.

The above figures and developments focus on the value of exports. They are not adjusted for price developments of these goods, nor for currency effects. This year’s devaluation of the British pound, for example, affects the value of exports because part of the exports are charged in pounds under contractual obligation. The pound is worth less in euros so export values in euros are lower. The stronger euro may have an adverse effect on export values in the longer term. CBS does not have data on price developments in goods exports by country, therefore no data are available on the net volume (quantities) of exports to the United Kingdom.