October 13, 2021
In the majority of EU Member States, the top 20 firms’ share of trade value dropped between 2012 and 2019, both for imports and exports of goods. The involvement and impact of significant traders can be assessed by comparing the size of the proportion of top importers and exporters in terms of the total value of products imported and exported.
International commerce in goods is a critical component of modern economies’ growth. Eurostat has merged statistics on international trade in goods with business statistics, allowing for new and more in-depth analysis of businesses involved in imports and exports, as well as trade-economic relationships.
In 22 of the 27 Member States, the share of the top 20 firms in the overall value of goods imports dropped between 2012 and 2019. Luxembourg and Bulgaria experienced the greatest drops in import concentration (both -10 percentage points (pp)). Before this, Luxembourg had the greatest concentration in 2012.
Lithuania and Croatia (both -9 pp; Croatia data from 2018 rather than 2019) had significantly lower import concentrations. For Austria, Denmark, and Romania, the decrease in import concentration was close to zero.
Malta (+7 pp, 2018 data instead of 2019), Belgium (+6 pp), Ireland (+4 pp, 2013 data instead of 2012), Slovenia (+3 pp), and Latvia (+0.1 pp) all improved their share of the top 20 firms in terms of import value between 2012 and 2019.
Malta likewise has the largest import concentration of any EU member state.
Between 2012 and 2019, goods exports became less concentrated, albeit the trend varied more than imports. Between 2012 and 2019, the share of the top 20 exporters in overall export value declined in 14 of the 27 EU Member States.
Eurostat noted that “concentration of exports decreased by 10 pp or more for Finland (-14 pp), Lithuania, Bulgaria and Croatia (all -10 pp). At the other end of the scale, the increase in concentration of exports was most pronounced in Malta, where the share increased by more than 16 pp (2018 data instead of 2019). Exports became considerably more concentrated also in Belgium (+10 pp) and Ireland (+9 pp, 2013 data instead of 2012). No other Member State registered an increase of more than 5 pp.”
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