Domestic exports to the United Kingdom down by 17 percent

© Hollandse Hoogte / Flip Franssen
In the first ten months of 2020, exports of Dutch-manufactured goods to the United Kingdom amounted to 14.5 billion euros. This is 17 percent down on the same period last year. Total domestic exports fell by 10 percent during the same period. The United Kingdom is the third largest export destination for domestically produced goods after Germany and Belgium. This is evident from new provisional figures, released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

In the period January-October 2015, the year before the Brexit referendum, domestic goods exports to the UK stood at 15.7 billion euros. This particular flow of goods accounted for 7.8 percent of total exports to the UK. Five years later, this share has declined to 6.8 percent.

In 2018, the Netherlands earned 51 cents from every euro of domestic exports. Exports of goods not primarily produced in the Netherlands (re-exports) yielded an average of 14 cents per euro.

Domestic exports to the United Kingdom, January-October
JaarMaandenDomestic exports to the UK (bn euros)

Over 12 percent of meat exports go to the UK

The United Kingdom is the second largest export destination for meat. In the period January-October 2020, the share of the UK in Dutch meat exports stood at more than 12 percent. This was still 17 percent in 2015. The UK is also a relatively major market for fruit and vegetables (12 percent) and flowers and plants (nearly 11 percent) from Dutch soil. In order to ensure fresh deliveries of these agricultural products, it is important to have quick customs clearances and a short transportation time.

Of the eight largest export categories in 2015, the UK’s share has declined most substantially in iron and steel exports. This share was over 9 percent five years previously, making the UK the second largest export destination. With the share currently at slightly over 4 percent, the UK ranks eighth in exports of iron and steel manufactured in the Netherlands.

Share of the United Kingdom in domestic exports, January-October
Goederen2020 (%)2019 (%)2015 (%)
Fruit and vegetables12.012.914.8
Flowers and plants10.610.311.8
Plastics in primary form6.67.28.0
Petroleum and natural gas4.36.25.3
Iron and steel4.36.29.1

Dutch export contraction smaller than EU average

In the period January through August 2020, the Netherlands’ share in exports from the European Union to the United Kingdom amounted to 17 percent. Including re-exports and transit trade, the Netherlands exported over 28 billion euros worth of goods to the UK. The value of total goods exports to the UK was 10 percent higher five years ago, namely almost 32 billion euros. At the same time, Germany, which is the main supplier of goods to the UK within the European Union, saw exports fall by more than one-quarter to EUR 42 billion euros.

The Netherlands’ decline in exports is well below the EU average of 17 percent. In January-August, the value of the pound sterling had dropped by 21 percent relative to the same period in 2015. As a result, goods from the eurozone became more expensive for UK customers.

Goods exports to the United Kingdom, January-August
Land2020 (bn euros)2019 (bn euros)2015 (bn euros)
Source: CBS, Eurostat

22.5 thousand exporters

In 2019, approximately 22.5 thousand large enterprises exported goods to the UK. Nearly 4.4 thousand of these enterprises were exporters of Dutch-manufactured goods. One in three enterprises with domestic exports engage in exports to the UK.