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Brief on India-Netherlands Bilateral Trade and Investment

Indo-Dutch relations date back to more than 400 years. In 1604, the Dutch East India Company began trading in India, first establishing itself in Dutch Coromandel, notably Pulicat, Tamil Nadu, looking for textiles to exchange with the spices they traded in the East Indies. Diplomatic relations between India and Netherlands were established in 1947.

Economic and commercial ties between India and Netherlands are an important facet of overall Indo-Dutch relations. India’s economic interests in the Netherlands include technical cooperation as a partner in key areas such as: transport and logistics infrastructure, water management, environment, agriculture and food processing, health, services sector and science and technology.

Bilateral trade and investment data

The Netherlands is the third largest foreign investor in India during FY 2019-2020 with FDI equity inflows of USD 6.50 billion. From April 2000 to December 2020, the Netherlands was the fourth largest investor into India comprising 7% of overall investment with inflows of USD 36.28 billion over the period.


Table: FDI equity inflows into India from the Netherlands


Amount (USD Million)

FY 2015-2016


FY 2016-2017


FY 2017-2018


FY 2018-2019


FY 2019-2020


FY 2020-2021 (April 2020 - Dec 2020)


Source: Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India

The Netherlands was the fourth largest destination of foreign investment by Indian companies with overseas direct investments worth USD 1.23 billion in FY 2019-2020 (Source: Department of Economic Affairs, India) .

The Netherlands was India’s 3rd largest trading partner in the European Union, after Germany and Belgium in FY 2019-2020. During FY 2019-2020, total two-way trade stood at USD 11.75 billion as compared to USD 12.87 billion in FY 2018-2019.

In FY 2019-2020, India exported USD 8.36 billion worth of goods to the Netherlands. The main items of Indian Exports to the Netherlands include mineral fuels, organic chemicals, electrical machinery, apparel and clothing, machinery, edible fruits, pharmaceutical products, iron and steel.

In FY 2019-2020, the Netherlands exported about USD 3.39 billion worth of goods to India, comprising sectors such as machinery and mechanical appliances, metal ores, plastics and electric machinery.

There are over 200 Dutch companies present in India, including major Dutch companies like Royal Dutch Shell, Unilever, Philips, Akzo Nobel, DSM, KLM and Rabobank. There are over 200 Indian companies present in the Netherlands, including all the major IT companies such as TCS, HCL, Wipro, Infosys, Tech Mahindra as well as Sun Pharmaceuticals and Tata Steel. LT Foods has a rice processing plant in Rotterdam and United Phosphorus Limited (UPL Ltd - producer of crop protection products) has a plant in Rotterdam.

Indian companies have made major acquisitions in the Netherlands. Hotel Company OYO Hotels and Homes acquired Amsterdam-based vacation rental firm @Leisure Group in 2019. Other past acquisitions also include Tata Steel’s purchase of Anglo-Dutch Corus; Apollo Tyres’ acquisition of Dutch tyre-maker Vredestein Banden and the purchase of the Dutch company Bilthoven Biologicals by the Serum Institute of India.

There are a number of organizations that are active in promoting India-Netherlands trade and investment such as the Netherlands-India Chamber of Commerce & Trade (NICCT), and the Indian Business Chamber (IBC).

High Level visits to promote trade and investment

In 2017, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi visited Netherlands, marking the 70th anniversary of the diplomatic relationship between India and the Netherlands. A high-level CEOs roundtable also took place during the visit. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte along with a high-level delegation visited India from May 24-25, 2018 and was accompanied by over 130 Dutch companies/institutions and nearly 200 trade representatives.

Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima visited India as state guests from 14-18 October 2019 and were accompanied by the largest ever Dutch trade delegation to India comprising over 140 Dutch companies/institutions and nearly 250 business representatives. The focus areas of the delegation were the water sector, agri-food, healthcare, technology and maritime sector. The delegation visited New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Kochi.

Stef Blok, Dutch Foreign Minister, Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Bruno Bruins, Minister for Health, Welfare and Sport, Mona Keijzer, State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy accompanied the delegation along with Ineke Dezentje Hamming-Bluemink, Chairman of FME, the largest industrial employers and business organization in the Netherlands. 51 MoUs and agreements were signed between Dutch and Indian partners during the visit. The Netherlands was India’s partner country for the Technology Summit at New Delhi which took place from 15-16 October 2019.

From February 8-12, 2021, a Dutch virtual trade mission to India took place led by Ms Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development. The three focus areas of the trade delegation included Water, Food waste and energy.