ASEAN-EU - international trade in goods statistics
Data extracted in September 2018
Planned article update: September 2019
Manufactured goods dominated EU trade with ASEAN partners in 2017, with 82 % of total exports and 85 % of total imports.
Singapore was the largest ASEAN destination for EU exports of goods in 2017, while Vietnam was the largest ASEAN partner for EU imports of goods.
Germany was the largest EU trade in goods partner for ASEAN countries in 2017, with an export value of €25 billion and an import value of €30 billion.
EU-28 trade in goods: exports, imports and trade balance with ASEAN countries, 2007-2017
This article provides a picture of the international trade in goods between the European Union (EU) and ASEAN. It analyses the type of goods exchanged between them and the shares of each EU Member State in those exchanges. The countries belonging to ASEAN are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
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.
ASEAN countries trade in goods with main partners
The six largest trade in goods partners of ASEAN countries are shown in Figure 1. Between a fifth and a quarter of imports and exports of ASEAN countries is with other ASEAN countries. In both cases China is the second largest partner. In exports the next four largest partners are the EU, the United States, Japan and Hong Kong. In imports the next four are Japan, the EU, South Korea and the United States.
Between 2007 and 2014, total EU imports and exports of goods of ASEAN countries have a similar pattern: a low point in 2009 followed by a strong recovery (see Figure 2). Throughout this period, the trade deficit fluctuated between EUR 15 billion and EUR 28 billion. After 2014, imports from ASEAN countries grew more strongly than exports and consequently the trade deficit grew to EUR 44 billion in 2017.
Manufactured goods dominate trade with ASEAN partners
In 2007, almost 90 % of goods exported to ASEAN countries were manufactured goods (see Figure 3). This share fell to 82 % in 2017 while the share of primary goods rose from 9 % to 17 %. The declining share for manufactured goods was mostly caused by the decline in the share of machinery and vehicles from 57 % in 2007 to 49 % in 2017.
Manufactured goods also dominate imports of goods from ASEAN countries (see Figure 4). Between 2007 and 2017 their share increased from 82 % to 85 % mainly due to the increasing share of machinery and vehicles. The 2 % drop in the share of primary goods was caused by the falling share of raw materials.
Singapore largest ASEAN destination for EU exports of goods
Table 1 shows the exports, imports and trade balance for trade in goods between the EU and ASEAN countries. In 2017, the total trade (exports + imports) of the largest trade partner Singapore were EUR 53 billion which was much higher than the 0.2 billion of the smallest trade partner Laos. However, among the smaller trade partners the growth of exports and imports can be very high.
Figure 5 shows the EU exports of goods to the six largest ASEAN trading partners (Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Phillipines). Singapore is the largest export destination for EU exports of goods and also had the largest increase in exports from EUR 20.6 billion in 2007 to EUR 33.2 billion in 2017. This EUR 12.6 billion increase equates to an average annual growth rate of 4.9 %. A much higher average annual growth rate of 11.4 % was seen in exports to Vietnam growing from EUR 3.6 billion in 2007 to EUR 10.6 billion in 2017. Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar also had double-digit growth rates, as shown in table 1.
Vietnam largest ASEAN partner for EU imports of goods
The EU's largest partner for imports of goods among ASEAN countries was Vietnam. The growth from EUR 7.9 billion in 2007 to EUR 37.0 billion in 2017 was equivalent to an average annual growth rate of 16.7 % (Figure 6). It thereby surpassed the imports from Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore whose average annual growth rates varied between 0.8 % and 3.3 %. Among the ASEAN countries, only Cambodia (22.0 %) and Myanmar (19.4 %) achieved higher growth rates (as shown in table 1) but coming from absolute values that were below EUR 1 billion in 2007.
Vietnam's high growth in imports meant that the EU saw its trade in goods deficit with Vietnam increase from EUR - 4.3 billion in 2007 to EUR - 26.4 billion in 2017 (Figure 7). The trade deficit with Cambodia also increased significantly from less than EUR -0.5 billion in 2007 to EUR - 4.2 billion in 2017 (Figure 7b). With the exception of Laos (+ 0.2 billion) and Singapore (+ 13.1 billion), the EU had trade deficits with all ASEAN countries.
Germany largest trade in goods partner for ASEAN countries
The largest EU exporter of goods to ASEAN countries in 2017 was Germany. German exports of goods to ASEAN countries had a value of EUR 25 billion, making up 4.7 % of all their extra-EU exports. This share was highest in Malta where 15 % of extra-EU exports was destined for ASEAN countries.
Among the EU member states, Germany was also the largest importer of goods from ASEAN countries with EUR 30 billion, which was 8.5 % of all its extra-EU imports. Austria had the highest share of its imports originating in ASEAN countries; their imports of EUR 4.6 billion made up 13 % of all their extra-EU imports.
There were seven Member States that had a trade in goods surplus with ASEAN countries in 2017. The highest surplus (EUR 4.6 billion) was recorded by France. The remaining 21 Member States had trade deficits with ASEAN countries. The largest four were found in the Netherlands (EUR 15.0 billion), the United Kingdom (EUR 9.7 billion), Belgium (EUR 6.4 billion) and Germany (EUR 4.7 billion).
Source data for tables and graphs
EU data is taken from Eurostat's COMEXT database. COMEXT is the reference database for international trade in goods. 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 via the Eurostat website are compiled from COMEXT data according to a monthly process.
Data are collected by the competent national authorities of the Member States and compiled according to a harmonised methodology established by EU regulations before transmission to Eurostat. For extra-EU trade, the statistical information is mainly provided by the traders on the basis of customs declarations.
EU data are compiled according to Community guidelines and may, therefore, differ from national data published by the Member States. Statistics on extra-EU trade are calculated as the sum of trade of each of the 28 EU 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 within it.
Data from the perspective of ASEAN (as used in figure 1) is based on statistics from UNCTAD, combining data from UN Comtrade, IMF, Eurostat, UNCTADstat and UNCTAD secretariat calculations.
Methodology According to the EU concepts and definitions, extra-EU trade statistics (trade between EU Member States and non-EU countries) do not record exchanges involving goods in transit, placed in a customs warehouse or given temporary admission (for trade fairs, temporary exhibitions, tests, etc.). This is known as ‘special trade’. The partner is the country of final destination of the goods for exports and the country of origin for imports.
Product classification Information on commodities exported and imported is presented according to the Standard international trade classification (SITC). A full description is available from Eurostat’s classification server RAMON.
Unit of measure Trade values are expressed in millions or 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.
Trade is an important indicator of Europe’s prosperity and place in the world. The block is deeply integrated into global markets both for the products it sources and the exports it sells. The EU trade policy is an important element of the external dimension of the ‘Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’ and is one of the main pillars of the EU’s relations with the rest of the world.
Because the 28 EU Member States share a single market and a single external border, they also have a single trade policy. EU Member States speak and negotiate collectively, both in the World Trade Organization, where the rules of international trade are agreed and enforced, and with individual trading partners. This common policy enables them to speak with one voice in trade negotiations, maximising their impact in such negotiations. This is even more important in a globalised world in which economies tend to cluster together in regional groups.
The openness of the EU’s trade regime has meant that the EU is the biggest player on the global trading scene and remains a good region to do business with. Thanks to the ease of modern transport and communications, it is now easier to produce, buy and sell goods around the world which gives European companies of every size the potential to trade outside Europe.
- International trade in goods (t_ext_go), see:
- International trade in goods - long-term indicators (t_ext_go_lti)
- International trade in goods - short-term indicators (t_ext_go_sti)
- International trade in goods (ext_go), see:
- International trade in goods - aggregated data (ext_go_agg)
- International trade in goods - long-term indicators (ext_go_lti)
- International trade in goods - short-term indicators (ext_go_sti)
- International trade in goods - detailed data (detail)
- EU trade since 1988 by SITC (DS-018995)
- International trade in goods statistics - background
- International trade in goods (ESMS metadata file — ext_go_esms)
- User guide on European statistics on international trade in goods