Value of domestic exports down by over 5 percent in 2023

© ANP / Peter Hilz
The value of Dutch-manufactured exports (domestic exports) was down by 19 billion euros (5.2 percent) in 2023. At the same time, the value of all exports from the Netherlands, including re-exports, was also down by nearly 43 billion euros (5.9 percent) in 2023, compared to 2022. The value of imports entering the Netherlands fell even more sharply. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of new figures for 2023.

The trade in goods to and from the Netherlands in 2023 was down in terms of both total value and volume. Export prices (including re-exports) were 2.8 percent lower last year than in 2022, while import prices were 6.4 percent lower. In percentage terms, the total value of imports declined by 9.0 percent. That was even more than the fall seen in 2020, the first year of the coronavirus pandemic. However, the decline in the value of Dutch domestic exports was smaller in 2023 than it was in 2020.

Value of imports and domestic exports
 Imports (% change relative to previous year)Domestic exports (% change relative to previous year)
*provisional figures **revised provisional figures

Trade in fuels down significantly

The price of fuels and energy rose in 2022 due to the outbreak of war in Ukraine and the ensuing sanctions against Russia. This rise in prices drove up the import and export value of many goods, including petroleum and chemical products. Prices fell again in 2023, which is reflected in the lower import and export values of mineral fuels and chemical products. The import value of manufactured goods, such as (products made from) iron, steel and nonferrous metals, also fell by more than 15 percent in 2023. The decline in these product groups outweighed the increase in the export value of machinery and transport equipment.

Value of imports and domestic exports by product group, 2023*
 Imports (change in billions of euros compared to previous year)Dutch-manufactured exports (change in billions of euros compared to previous year)
Machinery and equipment0.910.2
Food and live animals1.42.1
Miscellaneous manufactured articles-4.00.6
Goods not individually specified-0.10.1
Beverages and tobacco0.2-0.2
Animal and vegetables oils and fats-2.0-0.5
Raw materials-2.6-1.2
Manufactured goods-9.5-2.6
Chemical products-7.8-9.2
Mineral fuels-37.0-18.7
*provisional figures

Fuel exports to fuel-importing countries down

Dutch domestic exports to Germany, Belgium, Nigeria and Taiwan fell sharply in 2023. In the case of Germany, Belgium and Nigeria, this was mainly down to a fall in the value of exports of mineral fuels. In the case of Taiwan, imports of specialist machinery and equipment from the Netherlands were down in 2023. China and South Korea, on the other hand, imported more machinery and equipment from the Netherlands, including equipment for manufacturing semiconductors (microchips).

Biggest changes in value of domestic exports, by destination country, 2023*
 Export of Dutch-manufactured goods (change in billions of euros compared to previous year)
South Korea1.0
Cayman Islands0.9
*provisional figures

Value of imports down by 9 percent

Nearly three quarters of the decline in the value of imports in 2023 was the result of fewer imports from four countries: Russia, China, the United Kingdom and Norway. In the case of Russia, the United Kingdom and Norway, this often involved a fall in imports of (more expensive) mineral fuels such as crude oil, refined petroleum products and natural gas. Since the war in Ukraine began, Russia's position as a major supplier of fuel has shifted to other countries, such as Saudi Arabia, the United States and Norway. Less electronic equipment (computers, laptops, smartphones), chemical products (including organic chemical products and pharmaceuticals), manufactured goods (such as metal products), furniture and clothing were imported from China.

Meanwhile, more goods were imported from the United States in 2023. This was largely due to a rise in imports of LNG, crude oil and petroleum products.

Biggest changes in value of imports, by country of origin, 2023*
 Value of imports (change in billions of euros compared to previous year)
United States6.8
United Kingdom-10.3
*provisional figures