Edition 2023

Foto omschrijving: A Chinese worker processing lenses for new glasses.

What do we import from China?

The Netherlands imports large quantities of electronic devices such as modems, routers, computers and laptops from China. Total Dutch imports from China amounted to over 64 billion euros in 2022. Most goods arrive in the Netherlands on large container ships.

Wat importeren we uit China? What do we import from China? 5,7 7,6 mld / bn 3,7 3,5 1,9 1,6 1,3 Overige Other Modems, routers, speakers Modems, routers, speakers Computers, laptops, tablets Computers, laptops, tablets Chips, zonnepanelen Chips, solar panels Kleding Clothing Televisies Televisions Meubelen Furniture Aardolie en olieproducten Oil and petroleum products Kantoormachines Office machines Schoeisel Footwear Gespecialiseerde machines Specialised machinery
1,3 € 36 mld / bn 1,2 0,8 0,7 totaal goederenimportTotal goods imports€ 64 mld / bn 1 container = €100 miljoen1 container = €100 million

Modems and routers account for the highest import value, at 7.6 billion euros. Computers, laptops and tablets from China accounted for another 5.7 billion euros in 2022. Imported chips, semi-conductors and solar panels totalled 3.7 billion euros. In addition to these high-tech products China also supplies large volumes of clothing (3.5 billion euros) and shoes (0.8 billion). Imports also included 1.6 billion euros worth of furniture.

Goods trade with China (bn euros)
Jaar Imports from China Exports to China
2015 29.1 8.2
2016 29.1 9.3
2017 32.4 10.9
2018 34.8 11.2
2019 37.6 12.1
2020 38.9 13.5
2021* 46.0 13.2
2022* 64.2 14.6
*Provisional figures

Larger share of imports from China

The value of goods imported from China has more than doubled since 2015: from 29 billion euros to 64 billion in 2022. Some of this increase was the result of higher prices. In 2022, in particular, prices of many products went up. But even aside from this, imports from China have grown by much more than total goods imports in the last thirty years. In 2022, 9.5 percent of all goods imported into the Netherlands came from China, making it the third largest trading partner.

With its ports and rivers, the Netherlands is also a gateway to other markets in Europe. The flow of goods from China is much more extensive than imports destined for the Netherlands alone. The total flow of goods, including those that remain in foreign ownership and are re-exported to other countries, amounted to 125 billion euros.

More exports to China too

The Netherlands also exports goods to China. Although these exports have also increased strongly in recent decades, they are substantially lower in value than imports. Exports to China amounted to 14.6 billion euros in 2022, accounting for around 2 percent of total Dutch goods exports in that year. China was the tenth largest export destination for Dutch products in 2022.

Specialised machinery – such as Dutch chip machines – accounts for a significant part of exports to China: 22.4 billion euros in 2022. But processed foods such as baby formula (milk powder) are also popular export items to China (2.3 billion euros).


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Explanation of symbols

Explanation of symbols

Empty cell figure not applicable
. figure is unknown, insufficiently reliable or confidential
* provisional figure
** revised provisional figure
(between two numbers) inclusive
0 (0.0) less than half of unit concerned
2016–2017 2016 to 2017 inclusive
2016/2017 average for the years 2016 up to and including 2017
2016/’17 crop year, financial year, school year etc., beginning in 2016 and ending in 2017
2004/’05–2016/’17 crop year etc. 2004/’05 up to and including 2016/’17

Due to rounding, some totals may not correspond to the sum of the separate figures.

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Irene van Kuik, Janneke Hendriks, Richard Jollie

With thanks to Hendrik Zuidhoek


Annelie Hakkenes (final editing)

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Karolien van Wijk

Michel van Kooten

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Saskia Stavenuiter

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Gabriëlle de Vet, Lieneke Hoeksma, Frans Dinnissen


Ronald van der Bie

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