Extra-euro area trade in goods

Data from March 2019.

Planned update: March 2020


Total euro area trade with non-member countries increased between 2008 and 2018 with an average annual growth of 3 %.

In 2018, 12 % of euro area trade with non-member countries was with the United States.

The main products traded by the euro area in 2018 were machinery and vehicles.

Imports, exports and trade balance between the EU and the United States, 2008-2018

The aim of this article is to provide an overview of the main characteristics of the extra-euro area trade in goods. All the series have been recalculated to include all the 19 members of the euro area (EA-19).

This article is part of an online publication providing recent statistics on international trade in goods, covering information on the EU's main partners, main products traded, specific characteristics of trade as well as background information.

Full article

Increase in extra-euro area trade

Between 2008 and 2018 there was an increase in both extra-euro area (EA-19) imports of goods (from EUR 1 629 billion to EUR 2 084 billion) and exports of goods (from EUR 1 566 billion to EUR 2 278 billion) (Figure 1). This development turned the trade in goods balance from a deficit of EUR 63 billion in 2008 to a surplus of EUR 193 billion in 2018.

Total extra-euro area trade in goods (imports plus exports) increased from EUR 3 196 billion in 2008 to EUR 4 362 billion in 2018, corresponding to an average annual growth of 3.2 %. EA-19 imports over this period had an average annual growth of 2.5 % and exports grew by 3.8 % annually.

Figure 1: Euro area trade, 2008-2018
Source: Eurostat (TET00069)

USA main extra euro area trading partner

In 2018, the United States was the leading partner for extra EA-19 trade exports of goods (Figure 2) with a share of 14%. It was followed by the United Kingdom (12 %) and China (7 %). The same three countries were also the three largest partners for extra-EA-19 imports of goods. Here China (14 %) was the largest , followed by the United States (9 %) and the United Kingdom (8 %). These top 3 partners combined, account for around one third of all extra EA-19 exports and imports.

Figure 2: Euro area main partners share in trade of goods, 2018
Source: Eurostat (TET00069)

Exports from the euro area (Figure 3) increased by EUR 228 billion between 2016 and 2018. The United States had the largest increase (EUR 39 billion), followed by China (EUR 30 billion) and Poland (EUR 21 billion). Czechia (EUR 13 billion) and Russia (EUR 10 billion) were the only other countries where exports increased by more than EUR 10 billion. Among the top 20 partners exports decreased only for the United Arab Emirates (EUR -8 billion, ranked 20th), Turkey (EUR -3 billion) and the United Kingdom (EUR -1 billion). However, the United Kingdom remains the second largest export destination in extra EA-19 trade behind the United States.

Figure 3: Euro area exports by main partner countries, 2016-2018
Source: Eurostat (TET00069)

Imports of goods to the euro area (Figure 4) increased by EUR 306 billion between 2016 and 2018. Russia (EUR 34 billion) and China (EUR 31 billion) had the largest increases. Imports from Poland (EUR 20 billion), the United Kingdom, the United States and Czechia (all EUR 13 billion), and Norway (EUR 11 billion, ranked 12th) and Saudi Arabia (EUR 10 billion, ranked 18th) also increased by more than EUR 10 billion).

Figure 4: Euro area imports by main partner countries, 2016-2018
Source: Eurostat (TET00069)

The trade in goods surplus of the euro area decreased by EUR 77 billion Euro from 2016 to 2018. Among the top trading partners there were trade deficits with China, Russia, Czechia and Hungary and trade surpluses with the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Poland, Sweden and Turkey. Between 2016 and 2018, there was a large increase in the trade deficit with Russia (EUR 23 billion). The trade surpluses of the United Kingdom (EUR -15 billion) and Turkey (EUR -12 billion) both fell while the trade surplus with the United States increased by EUR 26 billion.

Figure 5: Euro area trade balance by main partner countries, 2016-2018
Source: Eurostat (TET00069)

Machinery and vehicles dominate extra-euro area trade

By far the most important trade group for both extra EA-19 imports and exports was 'machinery and vehicles', with a trade value in 2018 of EUR 1 654 billion (Figure 6). From this, EUR 947billion were exports, representing 42 % of the value of all extra EA-19 exports in 2018. Imports of 'machinery and vehicles' amounted to EUR 707 billion which was 34 % of total EA-19 imports. Compared with 2016, exports were up EUR 75 billion and imports EUR 87 billion. Consequently the trade surplus for 'machinery and vehicles' fell by EUR 12 billion, reaching EUR 241 billion in 2018.

In 2018, the second most important trading group for extra EA-19 trade was 'other manufactured goods', with total trade amounting to EUR 1 076 billion. From this, EUR 548 billion were exports, representing 24 % of all extra EA-19 exports.
Imports of 'other manufactured goods'stood at EUR 528 billion in 2018 which was 25 % of all extra EA-19 imports. Compared with 2016, exports were up EUR 62 billion and imports EUR 51 billion. Consequently the trade surplus for 'other manufactured goods' increased by EUR 11 billion reaching EUR 20 billion in 2018.

The only other product group with a share of more than 10 % of trade was 'chemicals' with a value of EUR 646 billion. From this, EUR 408 billion of those were exports, which was 18 % of all exports. Imports of 'chemicals' amounted to 237 billion representing 11 % of all imports were in this product group. Compared with 2016, exports were up EUR 49 billion and imports were up 22 billion. Thus the trade balance for 'chemicals' rose by EUR 27 billion to 171 EUR billion in 2018.

The euro area also has trade surpluses in 'food and drink' (EUR 29 billion) and 'other goods' (EUR 8 billion). It has a small trade deficit in 'raw materials' (EUR  32 billion) and a much larger deficit in 'energy' (243 billion).

Figure 6: Euro area trade by product, 2016 and 2018
Source: Eurostat (TET00070)

Data sources

EU data come from Eurostat’s COMEXT database. COMEXT is the Eurostat reference database for international trade. It provides access not only to both recent and historical data from the EU Member States but also to statistics of a significant number of third countries. International trade aggregated and detailed statistics disseminated from Eurostat website are compiled from COMEXT data according to a monthly process. Because COMEXT is updated on a daily basis, data published on the website may differ from data stored in COMEXT in case of recent revisions.

EU data are compiled according to community guidelines and may, therefore, differ from national data published by Member States. Statistics on extra-EU trade are calculated as the sum of trade of each of the 28 Member States with countries outside the EU. In other words, the EU is considered as a single trading entity and trade flows are measured into and out of the area, but not among Member States within the EU.

Unit of measure Trade values are expressed in billions (109) of euros. They correspond to the statistical value, i.e. to the amount which would be invoiced in case of sale or purchase at the national border of the reporting country. It is called a FOB value (free on board) for exports and a CIF value (cost, insurance, freight) for imports.

Source data for tables and graphs

Extra-euro area trade figures Microsoft Excel 2010 Logo.png


The euro area is a large and open trading bloc. This makes doing business in euro an attractive proposition for other trading nations, which can access a large market using one currency. Euro area companies also benefit because they can export and import in the global economy while paying, and being paid, in euro, reducing the risk of losses caused by global currency fluctuations.

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