In recent years trade and economic relations between Russia and the Netherlands remain one of the key areas of bilateral relations. In 1999 the Netherlands ranked eighth in the world and fourth in Europe as a trading partner of the Russian Federation.
In the 90-s Russia became the main (excluding the European Union) Dutch export market for a whole range of Dutch export goods. Above all, it concerns the agricultural and food products. Another important group of Dutch export to Russia includes chemical products, equipment for the light and food industries and consumer goods.
Russian exports to the Netherlands (in 1999 – 3.5 billion USD) consist primarily of raw materials. Their main items are ferrous and non-ferrous metals (aluminium, nickel, zinc), oil and oil products, timber, chemical products. Almost half of Russian raw materials are re-exported to third countries.
Hundreds of Dutch companies which have trade relations with Russia have opened their missions in Russia or established joint ventures with Russian participation. Among them are such leaders of the Dutch economy as "Shell", "Philips", "Unilever", "Akzo Nobel".
The leading Dutch banks (ABN AMRO, ING and Rabobank) have their offices in Russia. The total share of Dutch companies in the full list of foreign companies accredited in Russia stands at 4% (fifth place). The Netherlands is an important trading partner for various Russian regions (Moscow and Moscow region, Sverdlovsk, Irkutsk, Archangelsk and Murmansk regions).
Russia is one of the main economic partners of the Netherlands among the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The Russian-Dutch trade turnover in 1999 amounted to 4.2 billion USD.
The Netherlands is one of the leading investors in the Russian economy. Dutch investments in Russia at the beginning of the year 2000 stood at 630 million USD (seventh place after Germany, USA, Great Britain, France, Cyprus and Italy). The oil company "Shell" (has joint projects with the open joint stock company "Gazprom"), “Van Leer” (has two factories in Russia), "Unilever" (purchased the Moscow butter and fat factory in 1998), the agroindustrial group "Campina Melkinie" (in 2000 completed the construction of a dairy-processing complex in Stupino near Moscow) are active in Russia.
The Dutch side renders technical assistance to the process of economic reforms in Russia and assists in the establishment of cooperation between Dutch and Russian businessmen.As part of technical assistance to Russia the Dutch government allocated in 1992-1998 160 million USD. The main spheres of interaction are advisory assistance to economic reforms in Russia, informing the Dutch business circles about opportunities for trade and economic cooperation with Russia, implementation of some bilateral projects.
The prospects for cooperation between the Netherlands and the Russian regional centres are very good. For these purposes NLG 27 million was allocated in 2000 in the framework of the Dutch “PSO” programme. The main priorities of Russian-Dutch cooperation under this programme are the agricultural sector and agricultural products processing (more than NLG 10 million), industry, technology and conversion (appr. NLG 6 million), energy and environment (more than NLG 4 million), transport and infrastructure (more than NLG 1 million).
There is an intention to launch more than 10 new projects with the long-term aim of supporting the stable commercial relations and stimulating investments by Dutch companies in sectors which are of special interest for them. This form of cooperation is an important means of promoting market reforms in Russia.
The Netherlands also provides assistance in the training of Russian managers. The Dutch programme of training for Russian citizens at local firms was adopted in the framework of the Russian-Dutch government agreements with the aim to acquaint them with the practical experience of working in a market economy. In 1998-1999 three groups of Russian managers were trained in the Netherlands.
Source: The Embassy of the Russian Federation