Vietnam-EU - international trade in goods statistics
Data extracted in March 2021
Planned article update: March 2022
Imports, exports and trade balance between the EU and Vietnam, 2010-2020
This article provides a picture of the international trade in goods between the European Union (EU) and Vietnam. It analyses the type of goods exchanged between the two economies and the shares of each EU Member State in those exchanges.
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.
Recent developments, impact of COVID-19
The COVID-19 crisis caused both exports and imports between the EU and Vietnam to fall in 2020. Exports reached a minimum of EUR 0.7 billion in May 2020. By December 2020 they had recovered to EUR 0.8 billion. Imports reached a minimum of EUR 2.3 billion in April 2020. By December 2020 they had recovered to EUR 3.0 billion.
Figure 2 compares trade with Vietnam to trade with other non-EU countries. Between January 2019 and December 2020, exports to Vietnam decreased by 11.0 % while exports to other non-EU countries decreased by 2.5 %. Imports from Vietnam increased by 8.0 % while imports from other non-EU countries decreased by 10.1 %. Compared to January 2019, the largest drop was seen for imports in April 2020 and for exports in May 2020. However, both exports to and imports from Vietnam dropped less than those of other non-EU countries. In May 2020 the exports to Vietnam dropped 19 % compared to 24 % for other non-EU countries, while in April 2020 the imports from Vietnam dropped 18 % compared to 21 % for other non-EU countries.
EU and Vietnam in world trade in goods
Figure 3a shows the position of Vietnam among the largest traders of goods in the world in 2019. The four largest exporters were China (EUR 2 233 billion, 16.1 %), the EU (EUR 2 132 billion, 15.4 %), the United States (EUR 1 468 billion, 10.6 %) and Japan (EUR 630 billion, 4.6 %). The four largest importers were the United States (EUR 2 293 billion, 16.1 %), the EU (EUR 1 940 billion, 13.7 %), China (EUR 1 857 billion, 13.1 %) and Japan (EUR 644 billion, 4.5 %).
Figure 3b has some more details. It shows that Vietnam (EUR 236 billion, 1.7 %) was the 17th largest exporter in the world between Australia (EUR 242 billion, 1.7 %) and Saudi Arabia (EUR 234 billion, 1.7 %). It was the 16th largest importer (EUR 227 billion, 1.6 %) between Russia (EUR 227 billion, 1.6 %) and Thailand (EUR 211 billion, 1.5 %).
The imports and exports of goods of the EU and Vietnam indexed at 100 in 2009 for the period to 2019 are shown in Figure 4. It also shows the cover ratio (exports / imports) for this period. Exports from the EU were lowest in 2009 (100) and highest in 2019 (180). Imports to the EU were lowest in 2009 (100) and highest in 2019 (163). The cover ratio for the EU was lowest in 2011 (97 %) and highest in 2016 (116 %) and was 110 % in 2019. Exports from Vietnam were lowest in 2009 (100) and highest in 2019 (463). Imports to Vietnam were lowest in 2009 (100) and highest in 2019 (363). The cover ratio for Vietnam was lowest in 2009 (82 %) and highest in 2019 (104 %).
Both exports to and imports from Vietnam increased between 2010 and 2020.
The position of Vietnam among the largest trade partners of the EU in 2020 can be seen in Figure 5a. The four largest export partners of the EU were the United States (18.3 %), the United Kingdom (14.4 %), China (10.5 %) and Switzerland (7.4 %). The four largest import partners of the EU were China (22.4 %), the United States (11.8 %), the United Kingdom (9.8 %) and Switzerland (6.3 %). Figure 5b has some more details. It shows that Vietnam (EUR 9 billion, 0.5 %) was the 30th largest export partner of the EU, between Nigeria (EUR 9 billion, 0.5 %) and Tunisia (EUR 9 billion, 0.5 %). In imports Vietnam (EUR 34 billion, 2.0 %) was the tenth largest partner of the EU, between Norway (EUR 42 billion, 2.5 %) and India (EUR 33 billion, 1.9 %).
Figure 6 shows the exports, imports and trade balance between the EU and Vietnam from 2010 to 2020. In 2010, the EU had a trade deficit with Vietnam of EUR 4 billion. The trade deficit remained throughout the whole period, reaching EUR 26 billion in 2020. Both exports to and imports from Vietnam increased between 2010 and 2020. EU exports to Vietnam were highest in 2019 (EUR 11 billion) and lowest in 2010 (EUR 4 billion). EU imports from Vietnam were highest in 2019 (EUR 34 billion) and lowest in 2010 (EUR 8 billion).
EU-Vietnam trade by type of goods
The breakdown of EU trade with Vietnam by SITC groups is shown in Figure 7. The red shades denote the primary products: food & drink, raw materials and energy, while the blue shades show the manufactured goods: chemicals, machinery & vehicles and other manufactured goods. Finally, other goods are shown in green. In 2020, EU exports of manufactured goods (82 %) had a higher share than primary goods (16 %). The most exported manufactured goods were machinery & vehicles (37 %), followed by chemicals (24 %) and other manufactured products (21 %). In 2020, EU imports of manufactured goods (91 %) also had a higher share than primary goods (9 %). The most imported manufactured goods were machinery & vehicles (55 %), followed by other manufactured products (35 %) and chemicals (1 %).
Figure 8 shows the evolution of EU imports and exports by SITC group since 2010. In 2020, the EU had trade surpluses in chemicals (EUR 1.8 billion), raw materials (EUR 0.3 billion), other products (EUR 0.2 billion) and energy (EUR 0.03 billion). The EU had trade deficits in food & drink (EUR 2.0 billion), other manufactured products (EUR 10.3 billion) and machinery & vehicles (EUR 15.7 billion).
EU-Vietnam most traded goods
More detail about the goods exchanged between the EU and Vietnam is given in Figure 9, showing the 20 most traded goods at SITC-3 level. These top 20 goods covered 64 % of total trade in goods in 2020. Ten belonged to other manufactured products, six to machinery and vehicles, two each to food and drink, and chemicals. The most traded product group at this level was telecommunications equipment. Another interesting way to look at the data is to investigate the cover ratio (exports / imports) of traded goods, showing the direction of the trade flows between the two economies. These ratios can be found in the right-hand margin of Figure 9. 18 products were below 50 %, indicating EU imports from Vietnam were more than twice as large as EU exports to Vietnam. Two products were above 200 %, indicating EU exports to Vietnam were more than twice as large as EU imports from Vietnam.
Trade with Vietnam by Member State
Table 1a shows the imports of goods from Vietnam by Member State. The three largest importers from Vietnam in the EU were Germany (EUR 7 537 million), the Netherlands (EUR 6 829 million) and France (EUR 3 622 million). Austria (8.0 %) had the highest share for Vietnam in its extra-EU imports.
Table 1b shows the exports of goods to Vietnam by Member State. The three largest exporters to Vietnam in the EU were Germany (EUR 2 976 million), Italy (EUR 1 058 million) and the Netherlands (EUR 1 005 million). Cyprus (2.7 %) had the highest share for Vietnam in its extra-EU exports.
The trade in goods balance between the EU Member States and Vietnam is shown in Table 1c. It shows that one Member State had a trade surplus with Vietnam: Cyprus (EUR 14 million). There were 26 Member States that had a trade deficit with Vietnam. The largest deficit was held by the Netherlands (EUR 5 823 million), followed by Germany (EUR 4 561 million) and France (EUR 2 659 million).
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 27 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.
The United Kingdom is considered as an extra-EU partner country for the EU-27 for the whole period covered by this article. However, the United Kingdom was still part of the internal market until the end of the transitory period (31 December 2020), meaning that data on trade with the United Kingdom are still based on statistical concepts applicable to trade between the EU Member States. Consequently, while imports from any other extra-EU-27 trade partner are grouped by country of origin, the United Kingdom data reflect the country of consignment. In practice this means that the goods imported by the EU-27 from the United Kingdom were physically transported from the United Kingdom but part of these goods could have been of other origin than the United Kingdom. For this reason, data on trade with the United Kingdom are not fully comparable with data on trade with other extra-EU-27 trade partners.
Data for the non-EU-27 countries used in Figures 1-3 are taken from the UNCTAD database of the United Nations. For the calculation of shares, the world trade is defined as the sum of EU trade with non-EU countries (source: Eurostat) plus the international trade of non-EU countries (source: UNCTAD).
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 (1 000 millions) 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 bloc is deeply integrated into global markets both for the products it sources and the exports it sells. The EU trade policy is one of the main pillars of the EU’s relations with the rest of the world.
Because the 27 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.
Direct access to
- 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_agg_esms)
- User guide on European statistics on international trade in goods