March 27, 2018
Based on data from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, the United States and China are the two main trading partners of the European Union (EU). “ In 2017, the United States (€631 billion, or 16.9% of total EU trade in goods) and China (€573 bn, or 15.3%) continued to be the two main goods trading partners of the European Union (EU), well ahead of Switzerland (€261 bn, or 7.0%), Russia (€231 bn, or 6.2%), Turkey (€154 bn, or 4.1%) and Japan (€129 bn, or 3.5%).”
In 2017, machinery and transport equipment, other manufactured goods and chemicals represented the main categories of product traded by the EU; however, the share of EU trades that go to these countries (U.S and China) varies overtime. After recording a significant and almost continuous fall until 2011, the share of the United States in EU total trade in goods had increased to nearly 18% in 2015 and 2016, before decreasing again slightly in 2017. The share of China has almost tripled since 2000, rising from 5.5% to 15.3% in 2017.
Russia’s share of EU trade decreased from approximately 10% (2012) to around 6% (2016) before slightly picking up in 2017; Japan share has fallen by more than a half since 2000 – from 7.5% in 2000 to 3.5% in 2017, while Switzerland and Turkey shares remained relatively unchanged over the entire period.
Intra trade within the block remains vibrant. In almost all EU Member States, the main partner for exports of goods in 2017 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 (Libya) and Lithuania (Russia). Overall, Germany was the main destination of goods exports for 17 Member States and among the top three in 22 Member States.
In 2017, the 28 EU Member States imported a total of €5 131 bn of goods, of which €3 276 bn (or 64%) came from another EU Member State (intra-EU trade).
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