Low import dependency in the larger product groups

The Netherlands is only minimally dependent on one or a few countries for product groups with an import value of at least 250 million euros. Although there are product groups which the Netherlands sources from one or a few predominant import countries, only maize and coal are commodities which are exported worldwide by a few. For the other product groups, there are more potential suppliers available. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on the basis of additional statistical research into the concentration of Dutch goods imports, commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

CBS analysed the potential vulnerability of the Netherlands in terms of the security of supply of particular product groups. The analysis was limited to product groups with an import value exceeding 250 million euros and intended for domestic use (excluding imports for re-exportation). The import concentration was calculated per product group. This is the extent to which the supply is dominated by a few large players. In addition, CBS examined whether these product groups are offered on the world market by only a few countries or whether there are alternative suppliers.

Imports from one or a few countries and limited number of global suppliers

Maize is one of the few commodities that are imported from a small number of countries and that have a relatively high export concentration in world trade at the same time. In 2019, the Netherlands imported 973 million euros worth of maize, nearly two-thirds of which came from Ukraine. The world market for maize is somewhat concentrated, with the United States as the largest exporter. Together with Brazil, Argentina and Ukraine, it accounts for three-quarters of global maize exports.

Import of coal for domestic use is concentrated as well: over 60 percent was supplied by Russia and the United States. The world coal market is slightly concentrated. Australia, Indonesia and Russia together account for more than 70 percent of global coal exports.

Commodities with a high import concentration and concentrated world market, 2019
CommodityHHI index for importsImport value (million euros)Main supplierWorld export concentration
Maize0.44973UkraineSlightly concentrated
Coal0.271071RussiaSlightly concentrated

The degree of geographical concentration is shown by the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI), i.e. the market is not concentrated if the index of a commodity is below 0.15, slightly concentrated with an index from 0.15 to 0.25 and concentrated with an index of 0.25 or higher.

Imports from one or a few countries but lower concentration worldwide

The import market for aircraft and parts to the amount of 2.5 billion euros is dominated by the United States with a share of over 90 percent. However, the world market is not concentrated. France, Germany and the United Kingdom account for approximately 55 percent of global exports of this product group.

The Dutch supply market for natural gas is also highly concentrated. Nearly 85 percent of the imports for domestic use - which amounted to almost 5.8 billion euros - came from Norway, Russia and the United Kingdom. By contrast, the world market has a relatively large number of suppliers, with Qatar, Norway and the United States being the largest exporters. However, natural gas from these countries may be more expensive, due to transport for example.

Salted and dried meat is another commodity which is mainly imported from a small number of countries. Almost three-quarters of the imports, which are worth 384 million euros, originated from Brazil and Thailand. The world market for these types of meat products is not dominated by one or a few countries.

For all other product groups, imports are not concentrated among a few suppliers. At a detailed level, this may well be the case; a specific brand or product may only come from one particular country.

Imports of commodities with a high import concentration, 2019
CommodityHHI index for importsImport value (million euros)Main supplier
Aircraft and parts0.832494United States
Railway rolling stock0.45369Spain
Live animals0.44793Germany
Tobacco products0.44337Poland
Jet engines, turbo-propellers0.38379United States
Natural gas0.375751confidential
Optical elements and glasses0.361262Germany
Chocolate and cocoa preparations0.35590Belgium
Wheat and meslin, not milled0.34915France
Other motor vehicles0.3681Belgium
Meat (salted, dried)0.29384Brazil
Machinery and appliances n.e.s.0.284210Germany
Rolled iron or steel0.281021Germany
Lime, cement and building materials0.28635Germany
Stone, sand and gravel0.28405Germany
Barley, not milled0.28365France
Milk, cream and milk products0.271539Germany
Television receivers0.27420China
Other non-ferrous metal ores0.26502Belgium