The FINANCIAL -- The European Union (EU) surplus in trade in services fell in 2015 for the second year in a row. It stood at €145.9 bn, compared with €170.4 bn in 2014 and a peak of €177.7 bn in 2013.
This is the result of EU imports of services from the rest of the world growing faster (from €602.2 bn in 2014 to €685.7 bn in 2015, or +14%) than exports (from €772.5 bn in 2014 to €831.5 bn in 2015, or +8%).
Substantial increase in EU surplus with China and the USA
In 2015, the USA (27% of EU total exports and 31% of EU imports) continued to be the top EU partner for international trade in services, followed by the four EFTA countries together (18% of EU exports and 13% of EU imports). The EU recorded surpluses with all its main partners in 2015, except Hong Kong (-€0.5 bn). The largest surplus was observed in trade with the EFTA countries (+€56.1 bn), ahead of Russia (+€13.6 bn), the USA (+€13.0 bn), Japan (+€12.1 bn) and China (+€10.9 bn).
Compared with 2014, a significant drop in the EU surplus can be noted with other countries (from +€52.5 bn in 2014 to +€26.9 bn in 2015) as well as with Russia (from +€17.4 bn in 2014 to +€13.6 bn in 2015) and EFTA countries (from +€59.0 bn in 2014 to +€56.1 bn in 2015). In contrast, the EU surplus rose markedly with China (from +€6.8 bn in 2014 to +€10.9 bn in 2015) as well as with the USA (from +€9.9 bn in 2014 to +€13.0 bn in 2015)
EU surplus still largely sustained by financial and ICT services
The main components of EU international trade in services were "other business services" (R&D, business, professional & technical services) which accounted in 2015 for 28% of EU total exports and 30% of imports, Transport services (17% and 19%), Travel services (14% and 14%), Telecommunications, computer and information services (13% and 9%) and Financial services (11% and 6%).
In 2015, the services that contributed the most to the EU surplus were financial services (+€46.4 bn) and ICT services (+€45.8 bn), followed by other business services (+€27.7 bn). In contrast, the only significant deficit, which almost doubled in one year, was recorded for charges for the use of intellectual property (-€37.1 bn).