The Netherlands has emerged as India’s fifth-largest export destination in 2021-22 (FY22), jumping from its 10th position a year ago.
Exports to the fifth-largest economy in the European Union (EU) bolted 94 per cent to $12.5 billion in the financial year ended March 31.
In FY22, the Netherlands surpassed Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK, Germany, and Nepal to become India’s largest export destination in the EU.
Germany, which was earlier India’s top European export destination (eighth position), has now dropped two ranks to 10th place.
While the US ($76.1 billion) remained India’s top export destination in FY22, the United Arab Emirates ($28 billion) trounced China ($21.3 billion) to become the second-largest export market.
Bangladesh ($16.1 billion), which has been rising through the ranks, improved one position to become the fourth-largest export market for India.
India’s top exports to the Netherlands were aviation turbine fuel ($2.6 billion), diesel ($1.7 billion), smartphones ($297 million), aluminium ingots ($245 million), benzene ($136 million), and prawn ($75 million), among others.
“A high level of commodity imports by the Netherlands from India is expected to have contributed to its rise among India’s top export destinations. We have to see if it can sustain its rank as one of the top five export markets of India in 2022-23,” said a senior government official.
In 2020, the Netherlands imported $23.8 billion in refined petroleum, becoming the third-largest importer of refined petroleum in the world. Top sources of refined petroleum for the Netherlands include Russia, Belgium, the UK, India, and the US.
India imported goods worth $4.5 billion in FY22, such as soybean crude oil, waste and scrap stainless steel, aluminium scrap, nickel, aircraft engine parts, among others.
India enjoys a trade surplus of $8 billion with the Netherlands.
The Netherlands is only the fourth country among India’s top 20 trade partners with which India has a trade surplus, apart from the US, Bangladesh, and the UK.
India registered the highest-ever exports of $422 billion in FY22, crossing the $400-billion target set by the government on the back of higher commodity prices and post-pandemic revival in global demand.
Indo-Dutch relations date back to more than 400 years.
In 1604, the Dutch East India Company began trading in India, first establishing itself in Dutch Coromandel, notably Pulicat (or Pazhaverkadu), Tamil Nadu, looking for textiles to exchange with the spices they traded in the East Indies.
Diplomatic relations between India and the Netherlands were established in 1947.
During his visit to the Netherlands to mark 75 years of diplomatic relations last month, President Ram Nath Kovind said over the past seven and a half decades, bilateral trade and investments between the two countries have grown remarkably.
“The Netherlands is now the third-largest investor in India.
"Likewise, India is also emerging as one of the top investors in the Netherlands.
"The Netherlands is a pioneer in water management and scientific know-how. Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Mark Rutte jointly launched the Indo-Dutch strategic partnership on water.
"Both sides are closely working together to implement several joint projects in this sector.
"Agriculture, health, port and shipping, science and technology, higher education, and urban development have been identified as other priority areas of cooperation,” he added.
The Netherlands is the fourth-largest source of foreign direct investment into India with cumulative $39.3-billion investments in India between April 2000 and December 2021.
There are over 200 Dutch companies present in India, including major Dutch companies like Royal Dutch Shell, Unilever, Philips, AkzoNobel, DSM, KLM, and Rabobank.
There are over 200 Indian companies present in the Netherlands, including all the major information technology companies such as Tata Consultancy Services, HCL, Wipro, Infosys, Tech Mahindra, as well as Sun Pharmaceutical Industries and Tata Steel.
LT Foods has a rice processing plant in Rotterdam and United Phosphorus also has a plant at the same place.
Indian companies have made major acquisitions in the Netherlands. Hotel company OYO Hotels & Homes acquired Amsterdam-based vacation rental firm @Leisure Group in 2019.
Other past acquisitions also include Tata Steel’s purchase of Anglo-Dutch company Corus, Apollo Tyres’ acquisition of Dutch tyremaker Vredestein, and the purchase of the Dutch company Bilthoven Biologicals by the Serum Institute of India.