Netherlands emerging as key export destination for India amid jump in shipments of petroleum products

The Netherlands emerged as the third largest destination for India’s exports after the United States and the United Arab Emirates during the April-December period due to the increase in shipments of goods such as petroleum products, electronic materials, chemicals and aluminum commodities.

India’s trade surplus with the Netherlands also increased from US$1.5 billion in 2017 to US$12.3 billion in 2022.

The Netherlands has taken in major destinations such as the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Bangladesh and Germany, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce.

The data showed that India’s exports to the Netherlands increased by about 69 percent, to reach $13.67 billion during the period from April to December 2022, compared to $8.10 billion in the same period of the previous year.

In 2021-22 and 2020-21, outbound shipments to the European country amounted to $12.55 billion and $6.5 billion, respectively. Exports have been recording healthy growth continuously since 2000-2001, when India’s exports to that country were US$880 million.

Moreover, in 2021-22, the Netherlands was the fifth largest destination for Indian exports as against the ninth in 2020-21.

Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) Director General Ajay Sahi said the Netherlands has emerged as a hub for Europe with an efficient port and connectivity with the EU through roads, railways and waterways.

Oil exports increased significantly. During April-November this fiscal year, these exports increased from $2.7 billion during April-November 2021-22 to $6.4 billion as oil companies use the Netherlands as a distribution hub. Exports of aluminium, electricity, electronics and pharmaceuticals also contributed significantly although some of these commodities may finally be consumed in Germany or France.

In the calendar year, India’s exports to the country increased to US$18.1 billion in 2022 from US$5.5 billion in 2017.

According to the economic think tank GTRI (Global Trade Research Initiative), ATF (aviation turbine fuel) and diesel were the major petroleum products exported from India to this country.

It said communications devices and smartphones worth more than $1 billion were the largest electronic items.

The source and chairman of Mumbai-based Technocraft Industries, Sharad Kumar Saraf, said the Netherlands is a gateway to Europe because its ports are very efficient and therefore cheaper than other European ports for cargo operations.

India and the Netherlands established diplomatic relations in 1947. Since then, the two countries have developed strong political, economic and trade ties.

In 2021-2022, the bilateral trade volume between the two countries reached 17 billion US dollars, compared to about 10 billion US dollars in 2020-2021.

The Netherlands is among India’s largest trading partners in Europe, after Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Belgium. It is also a major investor in India. During April-September this fiscal year, India received US$1.76 billion in foreign direct investment from the Netherlands. It was $4.6 billion in 2021-22.

There are more than 200 Dutch companies present in India, including Philips, Akzo Nobel, DSM, KLM and Rabobank. Similarly, there are more than 200 Indian companies operating in the Netherlands, including all the major IT companies such as TCS, HCL, Wipro, Infosys and Tech Mahindra as well as Sun Pharmaceuticals and Tata Steel.