A third of EU trade is with the United States and China

A third of EU trade is with the United States and China

A third of EU trade is with the United States and China

The FINANCIAL -- In 2018, the United States (€674 billion, or 17.1% of total extra-EU trade in goods, i.e. the sum of exports and imports) and China (€605 bn, or 15.4%) continued to be the two main goods trading partners of the European Union (EU), well ahead of Switzerland (€265 bn, or 6.7%), Russia (€254 bn, or 6.4%), Turkey (€153 bn, or 3.9%) and Japan (€135 bn, or 3.4%).

However, the trends observed over time differ for these top trading partners of the EU. After recording a significant and almost continuous fall from nearly 25% in 2000 to 14% in 2011, the share of the United States in EU total trade in goods increased again to reach 17% in 2018. The share of China has almost tripled since 2000, rising from just over 5% to more than 15% in 2018. The share of Russia decreased from nearly 10% in 2012 to around 7% in 2018. The share of Japan has fallen by more than half since 2000 while the shares of Switzerland and Turkey remained relatively unchanged over the period.

Germany, main export destination for a majority of Member States

In almost all EU Member States, the main partner for exports of goods in 2018 was another member of the European Union, except for Germany, Ireland, and the United Kingdom (the United States was the main destination of exports) as well as Cyprus (Cayman Islands) and Lithuania (Russia). Overall, Germany was the main destination of goods exports for 17 Member States.
In some Member States, over a quarter of exports went to one single partner. This partner was Germany for Czechia (32% of exports of goods), Austria (30%), Poland (28%), Hungary and Luxembourg (both 27%), the United States for Ireland (28%) and Spain for Portugal (25%).For extra-EU trade, that is trade with non-EU countries, the 3 main destinations of EU exports in 2018 were the United States (21% of all extra-EU exports), China (11%) and Switzerland (8%).

Intra-EU exports prevail in all Member States apart from Cyprus and the United Kingdom

In 2018, the 28 EU Member States exported a total of €5 474 bn of goods, of which €3 518 bn (or 64%) were destined for another Member State of the EU (intra-EU trade). With more than three-quarters of goods exported to other EU Member States, Slovakia (86% intra-EU in total exports), Czechia and Luxembourg (both 84%), Hungary (82%), Poland (80%), Romania (77%), Slovenia and Portugal (both 76%) recorded the highest shares of intra-EU exports in 2018. At the opposite end of the scale, Cyprus (28%) and the United Kingdom (47%) were the only Member States that exported more goods to non-EU countries than within the EU in 2018.

Assistance for forming a company in Switzerland

Germany, also main source of imports for majority of EU Member States

As for exports, the main partner for imports of goods in 2018 was another member of the European Union in all Member States except Lithuania (Russia was the main country of origin of goods imported) and the Netherlands (China). Overall, Germany was the main source of goods imports for 17 Member States.

In eight Member States, more than 25% of imports of goods came from a single partner country in 2018: Austria (41% of imports of goods originated from Germany), Luxembourg (35% from Belgium), Portugal (31% from Spain), Czechia (29% from Germany), Poland (27% from Germany), Ireland (26% from the United Kingdom), Hungary (25% from Germany) and Malta (25% from Italy).

For extra-EU trade, the main country of origin of goods imported into the EU in 2018 remained China (20% of all extra-EU imports), followed by the United States (13%) and Russia (8%).

Intra-EU imports prevail in almost all Member States

In 2018, the 28 EU Member States imported a total of €5 426 bn of goods, of which €3 446 bn (or 64%) came from another EU Member State (intra-EU trade).

At least three-quarters of total imports of goods originated from another EU Member State in Luxembourg (88%), Slovakia (80%), Croatia and Austria (both 78%), Estonia (77%), Czechia and Portugal (both 76%), Hungary, Latvia and Romania (all 75%). In contrast, the Netherlands (46%) was the only Member State where less than half of the imports came from within the EU. This is largely due to the so-called 'Rotterdam effect' .

Machinery & transport equipment dominated both EU exports and imports

In 2018, machinery and transport equipment continued to play a major role in EU trade in goods with the rest of the world, accounting for 41% of total extra-EU exports and 31% of imports. Other manufactured goods (22% of extra- EU exports and 25% of extra-EU imports) as well as chemicals (18% of extra-EU exports and 10% of extra-EU imports) also played a significant role in EU trade in goods in 2018. Energy made up a minor share of extra-EU exports (6%), but accounted for 21% of all imports.