The FINANCIAL -- In 2015, the United States (€619 bn, or 18% of total EU trade in goods) and China (€521 bn, or 15%) continued to be the two main goods trading partners of the European Union (EU), well ahead of Switzerland (€253 bn, or 7%) and Russia (€210 bn, or 6%).
Trends observed over recent years are however very different for these top trading partners of the EU. After recording a significant and almost continuous fall until 2011, the share of the United States in EU total trade in goods has begun to increase again to reach 18% in 2015. The share of China has doubled since 2002, rising from 7% to 15% in 2015. Since 2013 the share of Russia in total EU trade in goods has declined sharply to 6% in 2015. The share of Switzerland remained almost unchanged at 7% over the entire time period.
In 2015, machinery and transport equipment, other manufactured goods and chemicals represented the main categories of product in EU international trade with the rest of the world.
Germany, main export destination for a majority of Member States
In almost all EU Member States, the main partner for exports of goods in 2015 was another member of the European Union, except for Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom (the United States was the main destination of exports), Lithuania (Russia) and Sweden (Norway).
In some Member States, at least a quarter of exports went to one single partner. This partner was Germany for the Czech Republic (32% of exports of goods), Austria (29%), Hungary (28%) and Poland (27%), while for Portugal 25% of exports of goods went to Spain. Overall, Germany was the main destination of goods exports for 16 Member States and among the top three in 22 Member States.
For extra-EU trade, that is trade with non-EU countries, the 3 main destinations of EU exports in 2015 were the United States (21% of all extra-EU exports), China (10%) and Switzerland (8%).
Intra-EU exports prevail in all Member States apart from the United Kingdom and Malta
In 2015, the 28 EU Member States exported a total of €4 861 bn of goods, of which €3 070 bn (or 63%) were destined for another Member State of the EU (intra-EU trade).
With 75% or more of goods exported to other EU Member States, Slovakia (85% intra-EU in total exports), Luxembourg (84%), the Czech Republic (83%), Hungary (81%), Poland (79%), Slovenia and the Netherlands (both 76%) as well as Estonia (75%) recorded in 2015 the highest shares of intra-EU exports. At the opposite end of the scale, the United Kingdom (44%) and Malta (45%) were the only Member States that exported more goods to non-EU countries than within the EU in 2015.
Germany, also main source of imports for more than half of EU Member States
As for exports, the main partner for imports of goods in 2015 was another member of the European Union in all Member States except Lithuania, for which Russia was the main country of origin of goods imported.
In eight Member States, at least 25% of imports of goods came from a single partner country in 2015: Austria (42% of imports of goods originated from Germany), Portugal (33% from Spain), Ireland (32% from the United Kingdom), the Czech Republic (30% from Germany), Luxembourg (28% from Belgium), Poland (28% from Germany), Cyprus (26% from Greece) and Hungary (26% from Germany). Overall, Germany was among the top three countries of origin of goods imported in all EU Member States except Ireland, Cyprus and Malta.
For extra-EU trade, the main country of origin of goods imported into the EU in 2015 was China (20% of all extra- EU imports), followed by the United States (14%) and Russia (8%).
Intra-EU imports prevail in almost all Member States
In 2015, the 28 EU Member States imported a total of €4 707 bn of goods, of which €2 980 bn (or 63%) came from another EU Member State (intra-EU trade).
At least three-quarters of total imports of goods originated from another EU Member State in Estonia (82%), Latvia (80%), Slovakia (79%), Croatia (78%), the Czech Republic, Romania and Austria (all 77%) as well as Portugal and Hungary (both 76%). In contrast, the Netherlands (46%) was the only Member State where less than half of the imports came from within the EU. This is largely due to the so-called 'Rotterdam effect.
Machinery & transport equipment accounted for more than 40% of all extra-EU exports
In 2015, machinery and transport equipment played a major role in EU trade in goods with the rest of the world, accounting for 42% of total extra-EU exports and 31% of imports. Other manufactured goods (23% of extra-EU exports and 26% of extra-EU imports) as well as chemicals (18% of extra-EU exports and 11% of extra-EU imports) also played a significant role in EU trade in goods in 2015. Mineral fuels made up a minor share of extra- EU exports (5%), but accounted for almost 20% of all imports.