Exports: the force propelling the agricultural sector

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Harvesting agriculture

The Dutch agricultural sector is linked very closely to the global economy, and is primarily aimed at the international market. In 2013 exports of agricultural products made up 18 percent of the overall exports of Dutch goods.

The Netherlands as the second largest exporter of agricultural products

With exports representing a total value of around 80 billion euros, the Netherlands in fact occupies the second spot – after the United States – on the list of leading exporters of agricultural products over the past ten years. During that time, the export value of Dutch products has increased by over 60 percent and exports continue to rise. According to ABN AMRO’s data the trade surplus of the agricultural sector has been growing for years; by 2013 it exceeded 26.7 billion euros, or more than half the total Dutch trade surplus. ABN AMRO expects this growth to carry over to 2015.

Asia: the region offering the greatest growth potential

Although the European Union still occupies a prominent position as the leading export market, it is slowly but steadily losing ground. ABN AMRO emphasises that further growth in the export value of Dutch agricultural products must be sought primarily beyond the EU. Since 2008, the growth rate has averaged 8.5 percent per year, compared with 3.4 percent within the EU. For the first nine months of 2014, the total exports of agricultural products to countries outside the EU in fact represented a value of 21.5 percent. The growth outside the EU is chiefly attributable to Asia: the total value of exports to Asia in 2013 was in excess of 6.2 billion euros. ABN AMRO expects that exports to Asia will continue to rise during the coming years. After Asia, North and South America are the most important non-EU export markets, followed by Africa.

Exports to Germany also making their way to other countries

More than a quarter of the total initial exports go to Germany, followed by Belgium (11 percent), the United Kingdom (10 percent), France (9 percent) and Italy (5 percent). However, ABN AMRO believes that the German market holds a lesser position in terms of the added value of exports: Germany’s share is smaller (17 percent) and the United Kingdom (13 percent) and Italy (8 percent) are more influential than they initially appear. This is because most products do not all remain in Germany: often they are processed for manufacture of end products and subsequently exported to other countries. This means that part of the added value winds up elsewhere.

The full report is available for download below (Dutch only).



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