Wholesale trade earns 40 billion euros from exports

In 2017, Dutch wholesale trade generated over 40 billion euros in value added due to exports of goods and services. This is equivalent to 16.5 percent of the total export earnings in the Netherlands. Wholesale trade is particularly important as a link in the supply chains of manufacturing exporters. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this today in the new Internationalisation Monitor, which explores the role of wholesale trade in international trade in depth for the first time.

In 2017, the Netherlands’ net earnings from the export of goods and services amounted to approximately 242.9 billion euros, of which 40.1 billion ended up in wholesale trade. With 17.6 billion euros in value added, re-exports are the most important form of exports from which wholesalers are earning. In re-exports, goods are imported which leave the country again in (virtually) the same unprocessed state. More than half of the value added of Dutch re-exports settles down in wholesale trade. Dutch-manufactured exports generate 17.4 billion euros in wholesale trade, while 5.2 billion euros is earned from the export of services. Wholesale trade occupies considerably smaller shares in Dutch-manufactured exports and service exports at 15 percent and over 5 percent, respectively.

Export earnings, 2017 (bn euros)
 Export earnings in
wholesale trade
Export earnings
other industries
Domestic exports17.499.1
Re-exports17.613
Service exports5.290.6

Highest export earnings through other industries

The bulk of export revenues in wholesale trade is generated through the exports of other industries. For example, wholesale trade supplies raw materials or logistical services which enable other industries to export. In this way, wholesalers earn indirectly from the export of goods and services. In 2017, wholesale trade generated 25 billion euros in such indirect exports. The bulk of this value added are margins which are earned by wholesale companies in their role as export intermediaries as well as through their involvement in the exports of other supply companies.

Wholesalers an important link in manufacturing exports

Wholesale trade mainly contributes to the exports of manufacturing companies. In 2017, wholesale trade added a value of 6.5 billion euros to the exports of manufacturers.

Wholesale trade earnings from exports by other industries, 2017 (million euros)
SectorToegevoegde waarde van de groothandel
Manufacturing6480
Information and communication358
Specialised business services348
Agriculture, forestry and fisheries294
Transport and storage291
Rental and other business services157
Construction149
Accommodation and food services100
Water and waste management82
Mining and quarrying68


The contribution of wholesale trade is largest in the exports of the food industry, with a value added of more than 1.5 billion euros. Wholesale trade also generates considerable turnover in the exports of the chemical industry, the machinery industry and the motor vehicle industry.

Wholesale trade earnings from manufacturing exports, 2017 (million euros)
BedrijfstakValue added
Food1539
Chemicals969
Machinery793
Motor vehicle675
Electrotechnical381
Base metal357
Other transport equipment261
Paper249
Metal products191
Pharmaceutical149