Between 2011 and 2021, the total sold production of chemicals in the EU increased by €232 billion in terms of value, reaching a peak of €769 billion in 2021, following strong growth between 2019 and 2020 from €626 billion to €768 billion.
In the same 10 year-period, sold production grew in all groups. Both in absolute and relative terms, the largest increase was for medical products, rising from €116 billion in 2011 to €211 billion in 2021, equivalent to annual average growth of 6.1%. Organic chemicals (1.1%) had the lowest growth rate whereas chemical materials and products (6.0%) had the second largest growth rate.
Source dataset: DS-056120
Exports and imports grew around 5% yearly since 2011
Looking back to the last 10 years, EU chemical exports were significantly higher than imports, rising from €266 billion in 2011 to €459 billion in 2021, with an average annual export growth of 5.6%. Among the EU Member States, Germany was the largest extra-EU exporter of chemicals in 2021 (€121 billion); this was also the case in the previous year. Germany’s share in total EU chemical exports was 26%, followed by Belgium (15% share of total EU exports; €67 billion), Ireland (12%; €56 billion), France (10%; €48 billion) and the Netherlands (9%; €42 billion).
The United States, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and China were the EU's four largest partners for exports and imports of chemicals in 2021.
The United States was the main extra-EU export destination for EU chemicals (€115 billion), followed by the UK (€46 billion), Switzerland (€40 billion), China (€33 billion) and Russia (€20 billion).
Source dataset: DS-018995
Over ten years, imports of chemicals into the EU increased from €172 billion (2011) to €271 billion (2021), with imports growing every year except in 2013 and 2020. The average annual growth in imports over a decade was 4.7%.
In 2011, the largest subgroup in imports of chemicals was medical and pharmaceutical products with €59 billion, rising to €100 billion in 2021 - an average annual growth rate of 5.4%. Plastics in primary form had an equal growth rate while chemical materials and products (6.0%) grew fastest in this period.
For more information:
- Statistics Explained article on Production and international trade in chemicals
- Statistics Explained article on Extra-EU trade in goods
- Statistics Explained article on Extra-EU trade in manufactured goods
- International trade in goods - a statistical picture
- Database on international trade in goods
- Dedicated section on international trade in goods
- Database on the production of manufactured goods (Prodcom)
- Dedicated section on the production of manufactured goods (Prodcom)