Trade deficit with the US narrower in 2018

In 2018, Dutch companies exported goods to the United States to a total of 23.7 billion euros, posting a 20 percent increase on the previous year. Imports from the United States were worth 33.7 billion euros, 9 percent up on 2017. As a result, the trade deficit was10.0 billion euros, i.e. a decrease of 1.1 billion euros compared to 2017. This is shown by recent data on foreign trade, released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

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The United States is a major trading partner for the Netherlands: 7.6 percent of all Dutch goods imports originate from the United States, making the US the fourth largest supplier after Germany, Belgium and China. The US is the fifth largest export destination for the Netherlands, occupying a 4.8 percent share. Vice versa, the Netherlands is the 8th largest export destination and occupies a share of 2.7 percent in US exports. As a goods supplier, the Netherlands ranks 22nd with a share of 0.8 percent in US imports. Almost three-quarters of Dutch exports are domestically manufactured.

Bilateral trade with the United States
 Imports (bn euros)Exports (bn euros)

Exports to the US include many high-tech goods

A large proportion of the Dutch exports to the US are high-tech products. The US is a key market for Dutch-manufactured high-tech goods. The growth in exports to the US last year mainly concerned specialised machinery such as chip manufacturing equipment and petroleum products. In 2018, specialised machinery exports were up by 1.3 billion euros (55 percent) on the previous year. The export value of petroleum products was up not only due to a higher export volume but also due to increased prices.

Main exports to the United States
 2018 (bn euros)2017 (bn euros)
Specialised machinery3.52.3
Petroleum products2.61.8
Orthopaedic devices0.90.8
Generators and engines0.80.7
(Mobile) telephones0.70.7
Iron and steel0.70.6
Passenger cars0.70.6
Medical instruments, devices0.60.4

Rising iron and steel exports

In June 2018, the United States imposed a 25 percent tariff on virtually all imports of iron and steel, and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum. Last year, the Netherlands exported 661 million euros worth of iron and steel to the United States. As total of 631 million euros of this amount were subject to levies under the new US tariff policy. These import duties are payable in the United States and are therefore not included in the Dutch export value. In the period June-December 2018 - after the new tariff policies took effect - the export value of this iron and steel increased by 6 percent. Dutch aluminum exports to the United States were limited at 45 million euros.

Value of iron and steel exports to the United States
   Jan-May (million euros)Jun-Dec (million euros)
Iron and steel 2018225437
Iron and steel 2017199408
Higher import duties applied to >95% of these exports in 2018.

Main destination within the United States: New Jersey

In 2018, the federal state with the highest volume of goods imports from the Netherlands was New Jersey. Over 16 percent of all Dutch exports to the US have New Jersey as their (final) destination. Runner-up is the state of Illinois with a share of 13 percent, followed by California (nearly 8 percent), Texas (over 7 percent), New York (nearly 5 percent) and Oregon (nearly 5 procent).

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