Brussels – In 2016, the United States (€610 bn, or 17.7% of total EU trade in goods) and China (€515 bn, or 14.9%) continued to be the two main goods trading partners of the European Union (EU), well ahead of Switzerland (€264 bn, or 7.6%), Russia (€191 bn, or 5.5%), Turkey (€145 bn, or 4.2%) and Japan (€125 bn, or 3.6%).
Trends observed over the past years are however very different for these top trading partners of the EU. After recording a significant and almost continuous fall until 2011, the share of the United States in EU total trade in goods has begun to increase again to reach 17.7% in 2016. The share of China has almost tripled since 2000, rising from 5.5% to 14.9% in 2016. Since 2013 the share of Russia in total EU trade in goods has nearly halved to 5.5% in 2016, as did the share of Japan since 2000 to 3.6% in 2016. As for Switzerland and Turkey, their respective share remained relatively unchanged over the entire time period. In 2016, machinery and transport equipment, other manufactured goods and chemicals represented the main categories of product traded by the EU. These data are issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
Germany, main export destination for a majority of Member States
In almost all EU Member States, the main partner for exports of goods in 2016 was another member of the European Union, except for Germany, Ireland, Malta and the United Kingdom (the United States was the main destination of exports) as well as Lithuania (Russia). In some Member States, over a quarter of exports went to one single partner. This partner was Germany for the Czech Republic (32% of exports of goods), Austria (30%), Hungary (28%) and Poland (27%). It was the United States for Malta (27%) and Ireland (26%), while for Portugal 26% of exports of goods went to Spain. Overall, Germany was the main destination of goods exports for 16 Member States and among the top three in 22 Member States. For extra-EU trade, that is trade with non-EU countries, the 3 main destinations of EU exports in 2016 were the United States (21% of all extra-EU exports), China (10%) and Switzerland (8%).
Intra-EU exports prevail in all Member States apart from Malta, Cyprus and the United Kingdom
In 2016, the 28 EU Member States exported a total of €4 855 bn of goods, of which €3 110 bn (or 64%) were destined for another Member State of the EU (intra-EU trade). With about three-quarters or more of goods exported to other EU Member States, Slovakia (85% intra-EU in total exports), the Czech Republic (84%), Luxembourg (83%), Hungary (81%), Poland (80%), the Netherlands (76%), Portugal, Romania and Slovenia (all 75%) as well as Estonia (74%) recorded in 2016 the highest shares of intra-EU exports. At the opposite end of the scale, Malta (39%), Cyprus (46%) and the United Kingdom (47%) were the only Member States that exported more goods to non-EU countries than within the EU in 2016.