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Trade relations between the European Union and Libya have been marked by the country’s long-lasting crisis, instability and lack of political settlement. Alongside Syria, Libya is the only partner among the Southern Neighbourhood (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine*, Syria and Tunisia) not to have an Association Agreement with the EU.


Trade picture

  • Libya was the EU’s 47th biggest trade partner in 2020.
  • The EU is Libya’s biggest trade partner, representing 51% of the country’s global trade in goods in 2020.
  • Total trade in goods between the EU and Libya in 2020 amounted to €7.8 billion. The EU’s imports from Libya amounted to €4.0 billion and were dominated by fuel and mining products (€3.88 billion, 97.0%), in particular petroleum and petroleum products (€3.22 billion, 80.5%). The EU’s exports to Libya were worth €3.8 billion and were dominated by fuel and mining products (€1.5 billion, 39.5%), agricultural and raw materials (€0.9 billion, 23.7%) and machinery and transport equipment (€0.7 billion, 18.4%).
  • Two-way trade in services totalled €0.9 billion in 2019, with EU imports of services representing €0.3 billion and exports €0.6 billion.

EU-Libya: Trade in goods

Trade in goods 2018-2020, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2018 16.1 4.4 -11.7
2019 16.0 4.4 -11.5
2020 4.0 3.8 -0.2

EU-Libya: Trade in services

Trade in services 2017-2019, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2017 0.3 0.6 0.3
2018 0.4 0.6 0.2
2019 0.3 0.6 0.3

EU-Libya: Foreign direct investment

Foreign direct investment 2019, € billions
Year Inward stocks Outward stocks Balance
2019 1.4 19.0 17.7

Unless otherwise mentioned “EU” concerns for all indicated years the current European Union of 27 Member States.

Date of retrieval: 12/04/2021

More statistics on Libya

EU and Libya

The EU has no trade arrangements with Libya. In 2008, the EU and Libya started negotiations for a Framework Agreement on trade. However, these negotiations were suspended in February 2011 due to the ongoing political crisis. Even though the EU assists Libya with its political transition to a stable and prosperous country, with the resumption of bilateral trade negotiations remaining an option in the future, the current lack of a political settlement prevents any trade discussions from taking place at the moment.

Libya is not a WTO member. Libya’s accession negotiations to the organisation started in July 2004 with the establishment of a Working Party. However, the negotiation process remains stalled.

Libya in the Southern Neighbourhood

The EU established its privileged partnership with the Eastern and Southern shores of the Mediterranean back in 1995 with the launch of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership at the Barcelona Conference, aiming to establish an area of peace, stability and economic prosperity that upholds democratic values and human rights.

The 25th anniversary of the Barcelona Process in November 2020 was an opportunity to reflect on the strategic partnership with the region in light of the political, socioeconomic, financial and environmental challenges exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, and to reassess the EU’s partnership with Libya and the other Southern Neighbourhood partner countries. Following consultations with partners, this reflection resulted in a Joint Communication by the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on ‘A renewed partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood – A new Agenda for the Mediterranean’ and the annexed ‘Economic and Investment Plan for the Southern Neighbours’ in February 2021.

While the European Neighbourhood Policy also covers Libya, due to the lack of an Association Agreement, there are no shared Partnership Priorities between the EU and Libya.

More information on the Southern Neighbourhood

Trading with Libya

* This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States on this issue.