2019: a good year for foreign trade between the Netherlands and the Andean countries

THE HAGUE, Netherlands: Agroberichten, the newletter of the network of Dutch agricultural counsellors around the world, reports on the trade in agricultural products for the last five years between Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and the Netherlands.

The three countries fall under the working scope of LAN Bogota: Colombia, Peru and Ecuador, also called the Andean countries. All three countries are an important exporter of agricultural products to the Netherlands (and Europe) and have a substantial trade surplus with the Netherlands.

The majority of the agricultural export products from these Andean countries to the Netherlands are quite similar, namely fruits, cocoa and coffee and – in case of Colombia and Ecuador- also cut flowers . Whereas the most exported agricultural products from the Netherlands to these three markets are bulbs, young plants and seeds in case of Colombia and Ecuador as well as preparations of food and vegetables.

Graphic left: Exports from the Andean countries to The Netherlands/ ©Wageningen Economic Research

Of the three countries Peru is the country with the highest value of agricultural exports to the Netherlands in this region. With the exception of a decrease in 2017, Peruvian exports keep a steady increasing trend and have almost doubled in value in the last 4 years. For 2019, the total of Peru’s agricultural exports to the Netherlands were EUR 1.114 mln, which is equal to 86% of total exports from Peru to The Netherlands. Fruits in that year were the main Peruvian agricultural export product to the Netherlands with a total value of EUR 753 mln where the following products stood out: avocados, mangoes, grapes, citrus fruit, bananas and blueberries. For the latter, Peru is the main exporter worldwide, having The Netherlands as one of its main destination markets (Agronoticias, 2020). Other important export products , but with less value , are beverages like beer, wine, cider and other non-alcoholic beverages, cocoa and cocoa preparations, oil seeds and oleaginous fruits, vegetables and vegetable preparations and coffee.

On the other hand, exports from Colombia and Ecuador remain fairly stable with modest growth figures, especially when compared to Peru’s export growth.

Colombia reached its highest export value over this 5 year period in 2019 with EUR 527 mln which represents 39% of its total export to the Netherlands.

Fruits such as bananas and hass avocado – the Netherlands being the point of entry of almost 50% of the Colombian hass avocado exports (Agronegocios, 2019) – palm oil, flowers and in a smaller value coffee, sugar and cocoa are accountable for the majority of the Colombian agricultural exports.

Looking more into detail at the Ecuadorian exports, Ecuador is the world’s largest exporter of bananas, and it is one of the main export products to the Netherlands, along with flowers, canned tuna, cocoa and frozen shrimps. In total, its agricultural exports to the Netherlands for 2019 were EUR 613 mln, which amounts to 99% of total exports from Ecuador to The Netherlands.

The agricultural export of Peru is almost double that of Colombia and Ecuador. This can to a certain extent be explained by the highly professional and efficient and expanding export-oriented fruit and vegetable production sector in the coastal areas of Peru.

Graphic left: Exports from the Netherlands to the Andean countries/ ©Wageningen Economic Research

Now looking at the exports from The Netherlands to these countries, the scenario is different. The Dutch agricultural exports to Colombia were slightly over EUR 100 mln in 2019, the country being the biggest importer of Dutch agricultural products among these three countries.

Exports to Colombia have grown gradually over the last 5 years and are mainly composed by food preparations, bulbs, young plants, alcoholic drinks, fertilizers, and preparations of vegetables and oil seeds.

As for Peru, exports from The Netherlands have fluctuated during the 5 years period with a decrease in 2019, going back to levels similar as the ones of 2015. In 2019, agricultural exports to Peru were worth EUR 65.5 mln, and are mainly preparations of vegetables, preparations of cereals and food preparations.

Regarding agricultural exports to Ecuador, even though levels are lower in comparison with the other two Andean countries, our exports to this country have been steadily growing for the last 5 years. In 2019, exports to Ecuador were worth EUR 50 mln , mainly composed of bulbs, preparation of vegetables, food preparations and fertilizers.

In conclusion, 2019 has been one of the best years for foreign trade during the analysed time-lapse both for exports from these three countries to The Netherlands and vice versa.

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