Trade in the Netherlands: a comprehensive reflection JAN-AUG

Provisional figures by the Central Bureau of Statistics in the Netherlands show a virtually unchanged trade surplus in respect to last year. Yan Incorporation, in this article, will explore the first eight months of 2020 and provide notable explanations in regards to the data.


From a general perspective, trade volume slightly decreased compared to 2019. Among many reasons, the coronavirus crisis is assumed to be the main factor. In spite of the negative trend (9% decrease), it is important to point out that the balance has not changed. See the phenomenon further depicted in the below graph.

Trade Balance by category

Chemical products, with a special focus on the export of medical goods, were the main drivers of the relatively positive outcome. To be exact, the trade in the chemical category recorded 19 billion euro (+500 million euro compared to 2019), producing a boost in the balance. Another noteworthy movement has been in terms of mineral fuels:

The Netherlands has always been a regular importer of goods such as petroleum. Due to global circumstances, demand and prices lowered during 2020, resulting in an advantageous climate and improved trade deficit in mineral fuels compared to last year.

Regarding other categories, food & beverage, raw materials and machinery registered positive results even though inferior to 2019. Rather negative developments have been observed for manufactured goods and transport equipment with respectively a deficit of 1.2 and 1.4 billion euro (0.5 bn and 0.7 deficit in 2019).

Trade Surplus by Country

Despite the overall decrease, 21.8 billion euros was the most profitable outcome of Dutch trade with EU countries (plus United Kingdom), having Germany as the country with the largest trade surplus in the first 8 months of 2020. Following we have France with 14 billion euro and UK with 8.7 billion euro. Other mentions include Belgium, Italy, Spain, Poland and Switzerland. A summary can be found in the following comprehensive chart.

Generally speaking, it can be stated that the trade surplus remained stable. Recent developments have affected volume with no extraordinary changes in the nation. What do you believe will be the trend in 2021? If you are looking for guidance in your operations, Yan Incorporation’s trade experts are available. Contact us at:


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