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November 19, 2019

The US and China remain the two main trading partners of the European Union


EU-US tradeThe US and China remain the two main trading partners of the European Union, according to the latest Eurostat data. Last year the value of trade between the EU and the US reached 631 billion EUR, which is 16.9% of the total EU trade turnover. The trade with China is estimated at 573 billion EUR, or 15.3% of the total turnover. On third place is Switzerland with 261 billion EUR.

Russia is the EU’s fourth largest trading partner with turnover worth a total of 231 billion EUR.

The statistics show that trade with the United States has not progressed steadily over the years, reporting a decline to 2011 and a significant increase to 18% by 2015 and turning down in 2016. At the same time, the relations with China are upward – from a share of 5.5% in 2000 to 15.3% in 2017.

The share of European trade with Russia is shrinking significantly – from around 10% in 2012 to 6.2% last year. This is largely due to the mutual sanctions and restrictions that both sides had introduced since 2014.

In 2017, the EU countries exported goods worth 5.2 trillion EUR, of which 3.3 trillion EUR (64%) are directed to another EU country (mainly Germany). For some members, the share of exports to Germany exceeds 25%, including Czech Republic (33%), Austria (29%), Hungary (28%) and Poland (27%).

The exceptions include Germany, Ireland and the UK, whose main partner is the United States, as well as Cyprus and Lithuania, which mainly trade with Libya and Russia respectively.

Eurostat data for Bulgaria show that Germany is the main export partner, followed by Italy and Romania. Nearly 70% of Bulgarian exports are for non-EU countries.

Germany is the main importer for most EU countries. The exception is Lithuania, for which most imported goods come from Russia. The EU is the main importer for China (20% of imports), followed by the United States (14%) and Russia (8%). Last year, imports of goods into the EU amounted to 5.13 trillion EUR, of which 3.2 trillion EUR was the value of intra-Community trade.

The bulk of EU imports and exports in 2017 are machinery and transport equipment. The chemical substances also play a significant role. Mineral fuels account for 18% of Community imports and only 5% of exports.


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