19 January 2018

Importance of oils and fats for the Dutch economy increased Import value € 9.4 billion and export value more than € 8 billion

The Dutch import and export of oils, fats and oilseeds grew strongly in 2017. With more than 8 billion euros the export of oils and fats (5 billion euros) and oilseeds (3.1 billion euros) is in the top of the most important product groups for the Dutch export of agricultural goods. The significance of the sector has also increased with the import of agricultural goods. With 5.5 billion euros of oils and fats and 3.9 billion euros of oilseeds, both imports and exports reached a record high in 2017.

This is stated in a (Dutch only) report De Nederlandse Landbouwexport, a joint annual publication by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and Wageningen Economic Research, commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.

The increase in exports was partly due to the increasing demand for meat from abroad, so that prices remained high despite the larger supply. In addition, the export of palm oil, coconut oil and mixtures or preparations of fats or oils for non food applications increased.

Other sectors
The main product groups for the Dutch import of agricultural goods were potatoes, fruit and vegetables (8.4 billion euros), prepared products for human consumption (6.7 billion euros) and grain products (5.6 billion euros). For exports, potatoes, fruit and vegetables (12.1 billion euros), prepared products for human consumption, and animals and meat (both 10.7 billion euros) were important.

Oils and fats
The increase in the total Dutch import figure was mainly due to the increase in oils and fats. Indonesia was the most important country in 2017 with an import share of more than 17 percent in the agricultural imports of oils and fats. From this country the import value was a lot higher than in 2016. Palm oil was mainly imported from Indonesia, rapeseed oil came mainly from Germany. From Belgium, a very wide range of oils and fats passed the border with the Netherlands. With Colombia, import country number four for the Netherlands with oils and fats, palm oil import was important. The United States was in the top five import countries, because mixtures or preparations of fats or oils for food and non food applications were imported from this country. For the entire countries top five the import value increased. Indonesia was the country with the largest growth.

The Netherlands
In total, the export of agricultural goods for 2017 is estimated at 91.7 billion euros. That is more than 7 percent more than in 2016 (85.5 billion euros). Agricultural imports are estimated to grow by 9 percent from 57.5 billion euros to 62.6 billion euros. The agricultural trade surplus thus amounts to 29.1 billion euros in 2017.

As the second largest agricultural exporter in the world, the Netherlands has been an important global player in agribusiness for many years. In exports, it must let the United States go ahead, in net exports (exports minus import) only Brazil and Argentina.

Last modified: 22 January 2018