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Market Focus: The Netherlands

The Netherlands, a thriving and welcoming market

The UK and the Netherlands share a trading history that goes back centuries; the geographical proximity as well as market similarities and interests have seen both countries developing a long-standing trading relationship that is only growing stronger.

The Netherlands are a major gateway to other mainland European markets, but the Dutch market remains on its own a main trading partner with the UK. Despite the hardships and commercial uncertainty UK traders faced following the separation from the European Union, trading partnerships between British and Dutch businesses have proven to be resilient and continue to grow and strengthen.

By the end of Q2 in 2023, the UK exported £57.2 billion to the Netherlands alone, which represents a 6.4% of the total UK exports.

A country recognised worldwide as a European transport hub, with a first-class transport infrastructure and a thriving economy, it is not surprising that the Netherlands comes in the national statistics as the UK’s 4th largest trading partner for exports, right after Ireland, Germany and the USA, and the 3rd for imports, just after Germany and the USA.

The Dutch economy is sophisticated, diverse, and innovation driven, and is constantly pushing for the on-going development of high-tech sectors, from life sciences and biotech to the digital economy and creative industries, whilst also encompassing high level engineering, manufacturing, petroleum, chemical and agro industries, just to mention some. This fast moving and highly innovative economy, although welcoming, is also demanding of first-class products and services from their trading partners.

Dutch market

The Dutch market at glance

With a population of +17.9 million people, where English is widely spoken and British products desirable, the Netherlands is a land full of opportunities for UK traders and a gateway to expand their reach into European markets.

In 2022 the IMF reported $56,489 GDP per capita in the country and although the economic growth projection of 0.8% for 2024 is very modest compared to previous years, the country’s economy is steadily recovering from the pandemic effect and proving more resilient compared to neighbouring markets such as Germany and France.

Top 5 UK products exported to the Netherlands:

Top 5 Goods Netherlands

Top 5 of services exported to the Netherlands:


Top 5 Services Netherlands


The above data is taken from Department for Business and Trade.

Preferential duty rates

With the UK-EU Trade Cooperation Agreement coming into force on 1 May 2021, a bridge to trade was created to provide both countries with a solid base to preserve their longstanding business partnerships and continue growing and benefiting from mutual commercial opportunities.

The Trade Agreement covers a multiple range of strategic areas alongside the trade in goods and services, but one of its most important features is that it provides reduced to zero duty rates and quotas for goods that comply with the preferential rules of origin established in its clauses.

Netherlands, as any other EU member state, requires that goods imported into its territory comply with both EU and Dutch customs and industry regulations, such as safety and packaging standards, business representation, VAT (known as BTW) directives – which are at a 21% rate, just to mention a few.

Bespoke Market research

The London Chamber, through its Business Information Services for Premier Plus Members, can help companies access market information for overseas markets. Our reports include:

  • An overview of the country's economy
  • In-demand products and services from the UK
  • Information on export procedures
  • What to expect when doing business in the country
  • Information on UK and worldwide import and export data

For details, please check our Business and Information Services.

Sources
This country snapshot was prepared with information compiled from the Office for National Statistics, the Department for Business and Trade, Croner-i, the International Monetary Fund, Rabobank and ING Think.

Produced by Elizabeth Skewes,Trade Services and Business Development Manager, LCCI.