Extra-euro area trade in goods
Data from March 2021.
Planned update: April 2022
Total euro area trade with non-member countries increased between 2010 and 2020 with an average annual growth of 3 % despite a decrease of 10 % between 2019 and 2020.
In 2020, a third of euro area trade with non-member countries was with the United States, China and the United Kingdom.
The main products traded by the euro area in 2020 were machinery and vehicles.
Euro area trade, 2010-2020
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.
Increase in extra-euro area trade
Between 2010 and 2020 there was an increase in both extra-euro area (EA-19) imports of goods (from EUR 1 558 billion to EUR 1 897 billion) and exports of goods (from EUR 1 547 billion to EUR 2 131 billion) (Figure 1). This development changed the trade in goods deficit of EUR 11 billion in 2010 to a surplus of EUR 234 billion in 2020.
Total extra-euro area trade in goods (imports plus exports) increased from EUR 3105 billion in 2010 to EUR 4 029 billion in 2020, corresponding to an average annual growth of 2.6 %. EA-19 imports over this period had an average annual growth of 2.0 % and exports grew by 3.3 % annually.
All this was despite a large downturn of trade in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Compared to 2019, extra-EA imports fell by 11 % from EUR 2 127 billion in 2019 to EUR 1 897 billion in 2020 and extra-EA exports fell by 9 % from EUR 2 348 billion in 2019 to EUR 2 131 billion in 2020.
United States, China and United Kingdom main extra euro area trading partners
In 2020, the United States was the leading partner for extra EA-19 trade exports of goods (Figure 2) with a share of 15 %. It was followed by the United Kingdom with 11 % and China with 8 % (see remark in data sources section about comparability). The same three countries were also the three largest partners for extra-EA-19 imports of goods. Here China (16 %) was the largest , followed by the United States (10 %) and the United Kingdom (8 %). These top 3 partners combined account for more than one third of all extra EA-19 exports and imports.
Between 2018 and 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, exports from the euro area (Figure 3) decreased for 14 of its top 20 trade partners . The United Kingdom had the largest decrease (EUR 37 billion), followed at a large distance by Czechia (EUR 8 billion), India and Mexico (both EUR 7 billion). Among the top 20 partners, exports increased most for the China (EUR 11 billion) and Switzerland (EUR 6 billion). However, the United Kingdom remained the second largest export destination in extra EA-19 trade behind the United States.
Between 2018 and 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, imports to the euro area (Figure 4) decreased for 15 of its top 20 trade partners . Russia had the largest decrease (EUR 49 billion), followed at a large distance by the United Kingdom (EUR 26 billion), Norway (EUR 16 billion) and the United States (EUR 12 billion). Among the top 20 partners, exports increased most for China (EUR 27 billion), Poland (EUR 9 billion) and Switzerland (EUR 6 billion). The United Kingdom remained the third largest import partner behind China and the United States.
Among the euro area's top trading partners the largest trade deficits in 2020, were with China (EUR 131 billion), Czechia (EUR 17 billion) and Russia (EUR 12 billion). Compared to 2018 the trade deficit with China increased by EUR 17 billion while the trade deficit with Russia decreased by EUR 46 billion. The largest trade surpluses were with the United States (EUR 130 billion), the United Kingdom (EUR 92 billion) and Switzerland (EUR 30 billion). Compared to 2018 the trade surplus with the United States increased by EUR 8 billion. In contrast the trade surplus with the United Kingdom decreased by EUR 11 billion.
Figure 5a: Euro area trade balance for main partners, 2018-2020
Source: Eurostat (TET00066)
Figure 5b: Euro area trade balance details, 2018-2020
Source: Eurostat (TET00066)
Machinery and vehicles dominate extra-euro area trade
By far the largest trade group for both extra EA-19 imports and exports was 'machinery and vehicles', with a trade value in 2020 of EUR 1 529 billion. Of this, EUR 846 billion were exports, representing 40 % of the value of all extra EA-19 exports in 2020. Imports of 'machinery and vehicles' amounted to EUR 683 billion which was 36 % of total EA-19 imports. Compared with 2018, exports of 'machinery and vehicles' were down EUR 106 billion and imports EUR 29 billion. Consequently, the trade surplus for 'machinery and vehicles' fell by EUR 77 billion, reaching EUR 163 billion in 2020.
In 2020, the second largest trading group for extra EA-19 trade was 'other manufactured goods', with total trade amounting to EUR 999 billion. Of this, EUR 499 billion were exports, representing 23 % of all extra EA-19 exports.
Imports of 'other manufactured goods' stood at EUR 500 billion in 2020 which was 26 % of all extra EA-19 imports. Compared with 2018, exports were down EUR 50 billion and imports EUR 31 billion. Consequently, the trade surplus for 'other manufactured goods' turned into a tiny deficit of EUR - 1 billion in 2020.
The only other product group with a share of more than 10 % of trade was 'chemicals' with a value of EUR 690 billion in 2020 Of this, EUR 439 billion of those were exports, which was 21 % of all exports. Imports of 'chemicals' amounted to 250 billion representing 13 % of all imports in this product group. Compared with 2018, exports were up EUR 32 billion and imports were up 13 billion. Thus, the trade balance for 'chemicals' rose by EUR 19 billion to 189 EUR billion in 2020.
The euro area also has trade surpluses in 'food and drink' (EUR 42 billion) and 'other goods' (EUR 9 billion). It has a small trade deficit in 'raw materials' (EUR 32 billion) and a much larger deficit in 'energy' (136 billion).
Euro area 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.
Euro area data are compiled according to community guidelines and may, therefore, differ from national data published by Member States. Statistics on extra euro area trade are calculated as the sum of trade of each of the nineteen members with countries outside the euro area. In other words, the euro area is considered as a single trading entity and trade flows are measured into and out of the area, but not among euro are members.
Among the euro area partners in this article there are countries belonging to the EU in the years mentioned (Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom) and partners outside the EU (United States, China, Switzerland, Russia and Turkey). The statistical concepts applicable to these two group of partners is different. Imports from non-EU trade partners are grouped by country of origin where imports from EU partners reflect the country of consignment. In practice this means that the goods imported from EU partners were physically transported from those countries, but part of these goods could have been of another origin. For this reason data on trade for these two groups are not fully comparable.
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
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.
Direct access to
- International trade data (t_ext)
- International trade long-term indicators (t_ext_lti)
- International trade short-term indicators (t_ext_sti)
- International trade data (ext)
- International trade long-term indicators (ext_lti)
- International trade short-term indicators (ext_sti)
- International trade detailed data (detail)
- International trade in goods statistics - background
- International trade in goods (ESMS metadata file —ext_go_agg_esms)
- User guide on European statistics on international trade in goods
- Regulation (EC) No 471/2009 of 6 May 2009 on Community statistics relating to external trade with non-member countries
- Summaries of EU Legislation: Extrastat: statistics relating to trade with non-EU countries
- Regulation (EU) No 92/2010 of 2 February 2010 implementing Regulation (EC) No 471/2009, as regards data exchange between customs authorities and national statistical authorities, compilation of statistics and quality assessment
- Regulation (EU) No 113/2010 of 9 February 2010 implementing Regulation (EC) No 471/2009 , as regards trade coverage, definition of the data, compilation of statistics on trade by business characteristics and by invoicing currency, and specific goods or movements.