The Netherlands Seeks Ambitious and Comprehensive US Trade Agreement
The economic relationship between the Netherlands and the United States supports job creation in both countries.
"A free trade agreement between the EU and US could significantly boost the Dutch economy, which is why the government is championing an ambitious and comprehensive agreement," said Dutch Foreign Trade Minister Lilianne Ploumen in response to the State of the Union address, in which President Barack Obama announced the launch of talks on a trans-Atlantic trade and investment partnership.
"I am pleased that talks are on the horizon. A deal could create many new jobs," said Ms. Ploumen.
Consultancy firm Ecorys calculated last autumn that further opening up trade with the US could lead to additional long-term economic growth in the Netherlands of between €1.4 billion and €4 billion.
In recent months, the Dutch government has been engaged in thorough preparations for the forthcoming talks. Ms Ploumen has had the interests of the Dutch business community mapped out in detail, with a focus on the top sectors of agri-food and horticulture, hi-tech systems and materials, and chemicals.
In the months ahead, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to seek input for the Dutch negotiation efforts from businesses and civil society organisations. A series of seminars will also be held in the Netherlands, Brussels and Washington, D.C.
With the exception of a few European countries, the US is the Netherlands’ most important trading partner, in fifth place for both exports and imports. The Netherlands exports primarily refined oil products, machinery, medicinal products and beer to the US, and imports mainly medicinal products, medical equipment, refined oil products and telecommunications services.
Moreover, the US is a key partner for the Netherlands in investments and technological cooperation. The Netherlands is the biggest investor in the US after the UK and Japan.
In recent months, the Netherlands has joined forces with European Commissioner for Trade Karel de Gucht to rally support within the EU for a trans-Atlantic free trade agreement. Ms. Ploumen believes the EU has much to gain from negotiating as a single bloc, saying "Together we are far stronger than the individual member states on their own."