UK third largest destination in service exports

The United Kingdom is the largest market for Dutch services, after Germany and Ireland. In 2018, the Netherlands exported 23.8 billion euros of services to the UK, over 4 percent more than in the previous year. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of the latest figures on international service trade.

Last year, Germany was the largest foreign market for services (27.3 billion euros). This export flow increased by more than 10 percent on the previous year. Service exports to Ireland rose by nearly 13 percent in the same period. Other major destinations for Dutch services are the United States, Belgium, France, Singapore, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia and Spain.

In 2018, total service exports amounted to 206.3 billion euros (nearly 7 percent up on the previous year), growing more rapidly than service exports to the UK. As a result, the UK’s share in the purchase of Dutch services decreased slightly from 11.8 percent in 2017 to 11.5 percent in 2018.

Major destinations in Dutch service exports (bn euros)
 2018*2017
Germany27.324.8
Ireland25.922.9
United Kingdom23.822.8
United States15.414.6
Belgium12.111.2
France10.710.1
Singapore8.57.6
Switzerland7.07.9
Saudi Arabia5.15.0
Spain4.84.1
*provisional figures

Strongest increase in business services exports

Out of all service types, exports of technical and other business services to the UK measured in euros grew most significantly between 2017 and 2018. These include services in oil and gas extraction, which increased from 4.6 billion to over 5 billion euros. Exports of professional and management consulting services (+232 million euros) and of construction services (+225 million euros) also performed well in 2018. After technical and other business services, computer and information as well as transport services represent the largest categories of service exports to the UK.

Composition of service exports to the United Kingdom (million euros)
 2018*2017
Technical and other business services50274611
Computer and information services49614985
Transport services43184275
Professional and management consulting services28352603
Intellectual property payments27352711
Leisure and business travel13081272
Construction services621396
Industrial services595569
Financial services546550
R&D services380442
Other services475427
*provisional figures

Highest exports by information and communication companies

Exports to the UK can also be looked at from a sector perspective. Which sectors provide services to the UK most often? Figures are available for the year 2016. Companies may offer more than one type of service. For example, manufacturing companies may offer technical services on top of their manufacturing services.

Information and communication companies combined spend the highest value in exports to the UK. This sector accounts for 23 percent of the total export value and 18 percent of the total number (over 16 thousand) of companies exporting to the UK. Companies engaging in consulting, research and other specialist business services are best represented in service exports (35 percent). In terms of export value, they come in second at 19 percent. Other sectors which are leading in service exports to the UK are transport and storage, manufacturing and wholesale and retail trade.

Service exports to the United Kingdom by sector, 2016 (% of service exports)
 Export valueNumber of exporters
Information and communication22.518.0
Consulting, research etc.19.335.3
Transport and storage16.98.6
Manufacturing13.77.6
Wholesale and retail trade9.314.1
Renting of tangible goods etc.6.45.5
Financial institutions4.70.7
Mining and quarrying4.50.2
Construction0.91.0
Other sectors1.89.0

The United Kingdom is set to leave the European Union. In a special dashboard, Statistics Netherlands is showing the main indicators for economic relationships between the United Kingdom and the Netherlands: the Brexit Monitor.