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EU's top trading partners: U.S. for exports, China for imports

Staff writer ▼ | April 2, 2016
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%).
EU trading
Trade   International trade in goods in 2015
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 hemicals represented the main categories of product in EU international trade with the rest of the world.

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%).