Look ahead to future global economy and act now, says Ploumen

If we are to be in a strong position in 2030, we have to act now in anticipation of foreseeable developments in the global economy. This was the conclusion of Lilianne Ploumen (Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation), speaking on Thursday after receiving a study by consultancy firm Ecorys entitled 'The Netherlands in 2030. How changes in the international context will affect the Dutch economy'.

Ecorys predicts that the Dutch economy will continue to grow by an average of 1.6% up to 2030. However, there are marked differences in the growth prospects of specific sectors. The outlook is particularly good for the services sector, agriculture and water transport. The sharpest decline is expected in the chemicals industry, the metals industry and the manufacture of machinery.

'This study gives us a sharp insight into those sectors that will make a difference to our future international earning capacity,' said the minister. 'We have to look more closely where Dutch companies in these sectors genuinely add value in international supply chains. That will give us a better picture of our economic DNA than export data alone.' Last week a study by De Nederlandsche Bank (the Dutch central bank) showed that the services sector in the Netherlands accounts for almost half of the value added to exports. The corresponding figure for industry is only 1/3.

The Ecorys study also shows that the relative size of the EU market for Dutch products and services will drop sharply from 70% of the total now to 56% in 2030. Emerging markets will become increasingly important. 'This is a finding that Dutch businesses can take on board now when planning their future operations,' said Ms Ploumen. 'The government will provide assistance, for example by organising additional trade missions and establishing closer personal ties with emerging economies.'

The basic scenario adopted in Ecorys's study is founded on an OECD study from 2012 on worldwide economic developments up to 2060. In addition Ecorys investigated 7 alternative scenarios, including lower growth in emerging economies and the further regionalisation of trade. It found that those scenarios did not have a big impact on forecast economic growth or import and export volumes. There were however differences in specific sub-sectors compared with the basic scenario.