EU’s share in Dutch exports has fallen slightly

In 2018, nearly 71 percent of Dutch goods exports had a destination within the European Union. Relative to 2010, however, the EU's share has declined slightly. The Union's share is smaller in goods imports. The Netherlands occupies a relatively prominent position in the international goods trade of Belgium, the United Kingdom and Germany. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the occasion of a newly launched publication on Dutch international trade (with the English version ‘Dutch Trade in Facts and Figures 2019’ becoming available at end of October 2019). This publication gives a comprehensive overview of the main figures in the field of internationalisation of Dutch trade.

EU countries represent by far the largest export markets for the Netherlands, with nearly 71 percent of total Dutch goods exports – worth 496 billion euros – going there. Nearly half of this went to neighbouring countries; almost 23 percent to Germany, followed by Belgium with 10 percent. Among the top ten largest export destinations are two non-EU countries: the United States and China. Almost 11 percent of Dutch goods exports go to Asia and 8 percent to North America. The value of Dutch exports to all continents rose in the period 2010-2018, although growth rates were higher in exports outside the EU. As a result, the share of goods exports within the European Union fell in 2018, whereas the share going to other continents increased.
In Asia, the top ten economies are China (the world’s second largest), Japan (third largest), India (7th largest) and South Korea (12th largest). All these countries with the exception of Japan have seen rapid economic growth over the past decade. Dutch exports to these countries in 2018 were mainly to China (over 10 billion euros or 1.8 percent of Dutch goods exports), followed by South Korea (0.9 percent), Japan (0.7 percent) and India (0.4 percent).

Destinations of Dutch goods exports
 EU-28 (%)Other Europe (%)Americas (%)Asia (%)Africa (%)Oceania (%)Unspecified (%)

Growing Dutch share in exports from ten largest economies

Dutch goods imports are less focused on the EU, although here as well the Union holds the largest share (53 percent of the total). This share was equally large in 2010. A share of 22.5 percent are imports from Asia. This share as well has remained more or less the same since 2010.
Six out of the ten main exporting countries are members of the EU (Germany, Belgium, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain) and four are outside of the EU (China, the US, Russia and Norway).

Origins of Dutch goods imports
 EU-28 (%)Other Europe (%)Americas (%)Asia (%)Africa (%)Oceania (%)Unspecified (%)

The Netherlands a relatively major trading partner of the United Kingdom and Germany

By adding together import and export flows to and from the Netherlands, we can say something about the Netherlands’ international trade position. The Netherlands holds an average share of 3 percent in global goods trade.
Among the world’s ten largest economies, Germany and the United Kingdom have relatively the strongest bilateral trade ties with the Netherlands. Bilateral trade with each of the two countries accounts for 7 percent of their total goods trade. The Netherlands is also a relatively large trading partner for France, Italy and Brazil.

Share of the Netherlands in goods trade of the word's top 10 economies
 2017 (%)2010 (%)
United Kingdom7.37.1
Source: United Nations, modification CBS

The Netherlands largest trading partner for Belgium

Regardless of the size of bilateral goods flows, the Netherlands occupies the largest share in the trade of Belgium among all countries worldwide. Around 12 percent of Belgian goods exports goes to the Netherlands, and over 17 percent of Belgian goods imports originate from the Netherlands. Altogether, 14.5 percent of Belgian international goods trade is with the Netherlands. Iceland, Ivory Coast, Mozambique and Norway export a relatively large share of their exports to the Netherlands. Aruba, Nigeria, Guinea, the United Kingdom and Sweden import a relatively large share of their imports from the Netherlands.