The trade record was already expected, but now it is official: German-Dutch trade in 2021 surpassed the record set in 2019, when binational trade reached 190 billion.
The Netherlands is Germany’s most important trading partner after China
With this trade volume, the Netherlands has been firmly in second place as Germany’s most important trading partner worldwide for five years now. At number one is China, which means that German trade increased by about 15% and now amounts to 245 billion euros.
Trade relations with Great Britain, on the other hand, cooled considerably. The consequences of Brexit become clear here: While the trade volume with Germany and the UK was still around 171 billion euros in 2020, it fell by almost five percent in 2021.
“The Netherlands is Germany’s most important trading partner in Europe. Both countries are benefiting from their stable economies, even during the pandemic and despite supply chain problems,” said Günter Gülker, director of the German-Dutch Chamber of Commerce (DNHK) in The Hague.
Growth can be seen in all commodity groups. The three sectors that have grown the most are energy, chemicals and technology.
Strongest growth in energy, chemicals and technology sector
Growth can be seen in all commodity groups. However, the three sectors that stand out far above the rest are energy, chemicals and technology. With about 38 billion euros each in imports and exports, they dominate trade relations between the two countries.
With regard to chemical products, imports and exports between Germany and the Netherlands are almost in balance. This is mainly due to the strong role of the Verbund-Standorte. “The chemical industry is a key sector for both countries. To secure future investments, the business climate must remain competitive,” suggests Gülker.
However, when it comes to energy, the Netherlands exports to Germany at more than 100 percent than exports from Germany. Conversely, with the same factor, Germany supplies more technical products to the Netherlands than it imports.
Last year, the Netherlands supplied around 28 billion euros worth of energy products. Conversely, Germany supplied the Netherlands with around 28 billion euros worth of technological products such as machines, equipment and vehicles. Both sectors show that there are still plenty of opportunities for growth in the future.
Digitization offers opportunities for intensification and for bringing companies and branches together. Given the geopolitical developments, Germany and the Netherlands can benefit from the growth impulses within Europe. According to Gülker, however, the two new governments must cooperate intensively: “Certainly in the field of climate policy and technology, there is still a lot of potential there and it is also necessary to achieve the climate goals”.
All in all, the DNHK director is positive about the future of German-Dutch trade relations. “If supply chains continue to recover, we expect good growth in 2022 as well.”