The Netherlands has 7th largest trade surplus in the world

The Netherlands has 7th largest trade surplus in the world

Worldwide, the Netherlands has the seventh-largest trade surplus in the trade of goods, according to figures released by Statistics Netherlands. A country has a trade surplus when it exports more goods for more money than it imports. The reverse is called a trade deficit.

China and Germany have the largest trade surpluses in the world in the absolute sense. The United States have by far the largest trade deficit in the goods trade. In 2014, the deficit reached nearly 800 billion dollars, more than the surpluses of China and Germany put together. Almost 50 percent of the deficit of the USA comes from the trade with China. The Netherlands, with 85.6 billion dollars has the second largest trade surplus of the European Union, after Germany, and the seventh largest in the world. Including the transition trade flows, the Netherlands exported 672.4 billion dollars worth and imported for 586.8 billion dollars in 2014. Three EU countries are ranked with the largest trade deficits in dollars: France (5), Spain (9) and Greece (11).

In comparison with the national GDP of each country, the German trade surplus (8 percent of GDP) and China (4 percent) are smaller than the Dutch trade surplus (10 percent). In this relative ranking, the Netherlands occupies the 25th position in the world. The Greek deficit (12 percent) as a percentage of GDP is considerably larger than that of the USA (5 percent), France (3 percent) or Spain (2 percent).

The Netherlands has a trade surplus in the goods trade with France, Spain and Greece. The Dutch share in the total trade deficit of France is 28.8 percent, in the case of Spain it is 20.4 and of Greece it is 9.5 percent. However, a great deal of this concerns re-exports and transit flows through the Dutch territory, in Dutch imports and exports. For example, this involves Chinese computers sold by the Netherlands to France or French wine exported by the Netherlands to the USA.

After adjustment for these transit flows, a more economically relevant picture about the Dutch share emerges. The Dutch share decreases substantially in the deficits of France, Spain and Greece; for Greece it is down to 6.5 percent. This adjustment may be slightly on the large side, as it does not include any transit flows between Greece and other countries. The economically relevant share of the Netherlands in the Greek deficit would then be slightly higher than 6.5 percent.

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