Netherlands Looks Ahead to Post-Brexit World

(From left) Mark Jansen, Blue Diamond Growers, chair, CalChamber Council for International Trade (CCIT); CCIT member Susan Corrales-Diaz, Systems Integrated; Walter van der Weiden, Consulate General of the Netherlands; and Gerbert Kunst, Consul General of the Netherlands.

The Netherlands looks ahead to changing trade relations in Europe as the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union, the Dutch Consul General explained to a California Chamber of Commerce gathering last week.

Gerbert Kunst, Consul General at the Consulate General of the Netherlands in San Francisco, summarized for attendees at the CalChamber Council for International Trade breakfast on December 7 some of the consequences of the UK exit from the EU, including:

  • Brexit is anticipated to have a negative effect on the economy, as the Netherlands and the UK have historically strong trade relations. However, it also presents opportunities to Dutch businesses as they will have certain advantages over their UK competitors that will no longer be part of the EU.
  • The European Medicines Agency, comparable to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, will be relocating from London to Amsterdam in 2019, along with nearly 20,000 jobs.
  • Certain international companies in the UK  are considering moving to mainland Europe, and the European Banking Authority will be relocating from London to Paris.

California-Netherlands Ties

Kunst reviewed aspects of the strong economic ties between California and the Netherlands:

  • California exports to the Netherlands about $5.79 billion worth of goods, supporting 78,200 jobs in California.
  • The Netherlands ranks as California’s ninth largest trading partner.
  • The Netherlands exports to California about $1.5 billion worth of goods, mainly related to agriculture and machinery.

U.S.-Netherlands Connections

The trading connection between the United States and the Netherlands dates back to the earliest days of the European discovery of North American with Dutch ships arriving in New York, Kunst commented.

Today, the U.S.-Netherlands partnership means:

  • $59.3 billion in goods and services are exported from the United States to the Netherlands. Texas, California, Louisiana, Illinois and Washington are the top exporting states.
  • That economic activity supports 825,000 U.S. jobs.
  • The United States imports $29.3 billion in merchandise and services from the Netherlands.

Investment ties also are strong, Kunst said, citing $300 billion invested in the United States by Dutch companies, making them among the top five foreign investors in the United States.

Moreover, $750 billion is invested in the Netherlands by U.S. companies, he said.


Kunst stressed that opportunities are available for partnerships with Dutch firms on energy projects, pointing to the nation’s pursuit of alternative sources, such as wind-powered turbines.

He also cited, the Ocean Cleanup program founded by a Dutch inventor at age 17 to remove plastics from the world’s oceans.

World Class Center

Traits that make the Netherlands a valuable U.S. partner in economic and trade endeavors, Kunst said, include:

  • Its access to 95% of the EU’s lucrative markets;
  • The nation’s ranking as No. 1 on the Global Connectedness Index;
  • 50% of Dutch gross domestic product (GDP) comes from international sources;
  • The Netherlands ranks fourth in overall logistics performance and fourth in having the highest quality broadband network;
  • 90% of the Dutch speak English; and
  • The nation ranks No. 2 on the Global Innovation Index.

More information about the Netherlands is available at and the CalChamber trading partner portal at

Staff Contact: Susanne T. Stirling

Susanne T. Stirling, vice president, international affairs, has headed CalChamber international activities for more than four decades. She is an appointee of the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to the National Export Council, and serves on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce International Policy Committee, the California International Relations Foundation, and the Chile-California Council. Originally from Denmark, she studied at the University of Copenhagen and holds a B.A. in international relations from the University of the Pacific, where she served as a regent from 2012 to 2021. She earned an M.A. from the School of International Relations at the University of Southern California. See full bio.