The Netherlands



Having stated the fallacy of the mercantilist system, Adam Smith (1776) observed that of all the countries of Europe, Holland most closely approached the situation of free trade, although it was still very remote from it; and furthermore that ‘Holland, it is acknowledged, not only derives its whole wealth, but a great part of its necessary subsistence, from foreign trade’. In an overview of the Dutch economy in the twentieth century, De Vries (1977) observed that, during the industrialization in the late nineteenth century, the tendency toward free trade has remained the undercurrent in the Netherlands’ trade policies. After World War II, the Netherlands concluded temporary bilateral trade and payments agreements, but the government recognized that a liberal multilateral trading system was in the interest of the country, given its small domestic market and geographical position. This longterm stance on foreign trade policy has induced the government of the Netherlands to seek economic cooperation in Europe, while at the same time trying to retain openness towards the rest of the world.


Trade Policy Economic Integration Total Trade Dutch Economy Foreign Trade Policy 
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© Centre of Research in European Development and International Trade (CREDIT) 1999

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