Connect with us

Economy

The EU’s position in world trade in figures

SHARE:

Published

on

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you've consented to and to improve our understanding of you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Find key figures about the EU’s trade with the world in our infographic: exports, imports, number of related jobs in the EU and more, Economy.

Infographic explaining global trade
Exports and imports on a global scale  

The EU has always been about promoting trade: not only by removing barriers to trade between EU countries, but also by encouraging other countries to trade with the EU. In 2019, EU exports represented 15.6% of global exports and EU imports 13.9%, making it one of the world’s biggest trade players alongside the US and China.

Trade agreements

Advertisement

The EU currently has about 130 trade agreements in place, pending or in the process of being adopted or negotiated.

Trade agreements are not only an opportunity to reduce tariffs, but also to get our partners to recognise EU quality and safety standards, and to respect products with a protected designation of origin, such as champagne or Roquefort cheese. This is very important as European food products enjoy a worldwide reputation for excellence and tradition.

Infographic explaining global trade

The EU also uses trade agreements to set standards for environment and labour, for example to avoid the importation of products produced using child labour.

The latest EU trade agreement signed was with Vietnam in 2020, which the Parliament adopted in February 2020, but many others are being negotiated. In addition, in April 2021, the Parliament approved the EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement.

Advertisement

EU imports and exports

Infographic explaining global trade
Infographic on EU imports and export of goods in 2020  

European firms not only benefit from economies of scale that being part of the world’s largest single market entail, but also from trade agreements that enable EU enterprises to export many of their services and goods. At the same time foreign firms wanting to export to the EU have to meet the same high standards as local firms so there is no risk of unfair competition by non-EU companies cutting corners.

EU exports declined less than imports and consequently the trade balance increased from €192 billion in 2019 to €217 billion in 2020, a significant increase. The main EU partner for exports in 2020 and 2021 was the United States and for imports China in 2020 and the UK in 2021.


The United States remained the most common destination for goods exported from the EU in 2020 with a share of 18.3%. The United Kingdom was the second largest destination for EU exports (14.4% of the EU total), followed by China (10.5%).

Infographic explaining global trade
Infographic: EU countries’ exports  

Trade with non-EU countries has led to the creation of millions of jobs in Europe. The European Commission estimated that in 2017about 36 million jobs were linked to trade with non-EU countries. Being in the same single market has also led to more trade between EU countries.

In addition the import of goods and services from outside the EU has forced European companies to be more competitive, while offering consumers more choice and lower prices. One fifth of the export-supported jobs are located in a different member state than the one exporting.

Interactive map: How many jobs are supported by exports in your country?

In addition the import of goods and services from outside the EU has forced European companies to be more competitive, while offering consumers more choice and lower prices.

Infographic explaining global trade
Infographic on the number of EU jobs linked to trade  

More on globalization and the EU

Find out more about global trade 

Agriculture

Agriculture: Launch of an annual EU organic day

Published

on

On 24 September the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission celebrated the launch of an annual ‘EU organic day'. The three institutions signed a joint declaration establishing from now on each 23 September as EU organic day. This follows up on the Action Plan for the development of organic production, adopted by the Commission on 25 March 2021, which announced the creation of such a day to raise awareness of organic production.

At the signing and launch ceremony, Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski said: “Today we celebrate organic production, a sustainable type of agriculture where food production is done in harmony with nature, biodiversity and animal welfare. 23 September is also autumnal equinox, when day and night are equally long, a symbol of balance between agriculture and environment that ideally suits organic production. I am glad that together with the European Parliament, the Council, and key actors of this sector we get to launch this annual EU organic day, a great opportunity to raise awareness of organic production and promote the key role it plays in the transition to sustainable food systems.”

The overall aim of the Action Plan for the development of organic production is to boost substantially the production and consumption of organic products in order to contribute to the achievement of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies' targets such as reducing the use of fertilisers, pesticides and anti-microbials. The organic sector needs the right tools to grow, as laid out in the Action Plan. Structured around three axes - boosting consumption, increasing production, and further improving the sustainability of the sector -, 23 actions are put forward to ensure a balanced growth of the sector.

Advertisement

Actions

To boost consumption the Action Plan includes actions such as informing and communicating about organic production, promoting the consumption of organic products, and stimulating a greater use of organics in public canteens through public procurement. Furthermore, to increase organic production, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will remain a key tool for supporting the conversion to organic farming. It will be complemented by, for instance, information events and networking for sharing best practices and certification for groups of farmers rather than for individuals. Finally, to improve the sustainability of organic farming, the Commission will dedicate at least 30% of the budget for research and innovation in the field of agriculture, forestry and rural areas to topics specific to or relevant for the organic sector.

Background

Advertisement

Organic production comes with a number of important benefits: organic fields have around 30% more biodiversity, organically farmed animals enjoy a higher degree of animal welfare and take less antibiotics, organic farmers have higher incomes and are more resilient, and consumers know exactly what they are getting thanks to the EU organic logo.

More information

The action plan for the development of the organic sector

Farm to fork Strategy

Biodiversity Strategy

Organic farming at a glance

Common Agricultural Policy

Continue Reading

Agriculture

Common Agricultural Policy: How does the EU support farmers?

Published

on

From supporting farmers to protecting the environment, the EU's farm policy covers a range of different goals. Learn how EU agriculture is funded, its history and its future, Society.

What is the Common Agricultural Policy?

The EU supports farming through its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Set up in 1962, it has undergone a number of reforms to make agriculture fairer for farmers and more sustainable.

Advertisement

There are about 10 million farms in the EU and the farming and food sectors together provide nearly 40 million jobs in the EU.

How is the Common Agricultural Policy funded?

The Common Agricultural Policy is funded through the EU budget. Under the EU's budget for 2021-2027, €386.6 billion has been set aside for farming. It is divided into two parts:

Advertisement
  • €291.1bn for the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund, which provides income support for farmers.
  • €95.5bn for the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, which includes funding for rural areas, climate action and the management of natural resources.

How does EU agriculture look today? 

Farmers and the agriculture sector were affected by COVID-19 and the EU introduced specific measures to support the industry and incomes. Current rules on how CAP funds should be spent run until 2023 due to delays in budget negotiations. This required a transitional agreement to protect farmers’ incomes and ensure food security.

Will the reform mean a more environmentally-friendly Common Agricultural Policy?

EU agriculture accounts for about 10% of greenhouse gas emissions. The reform should lead to a more environmentally friendly, fairer and transparent EU farm policy, MEPs said, after a deal was reached with the Council. Parliament wants to link CAP to the Paris agreement on climate change, while increasing support to young farmers and small and medium-sized farms. Parliament will vote on the final deal in 2021 and it will come into effect in 2023.

Agriculture policy is linked to the European Green Deal and the Farm to Fork strategy from the European Commission, which aims to protect the environment and ensure healthy food for everyone, whilst ensuring farmers’ livelihoods.

More on agriculture

Briefing 

Check legislative progress 

Continue Reading

Agriculture

Proposed lift on USA lamb ban welcome news for industry

Published

on

The FUW met with the USDA in 2016 to discuss lamb export opportunities. From left, US agricultural specialist Steve Knight, US Counselor for agricultural affairs Stan Phillips, FUW senior policy officer Dr Hazel Wright and FUW President Glyn Roberts

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed news that the long standing ban on importing Welsh lamb into the United States is to be lifted soon. The announcement was made by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday 22 September. 

The FUW has long discussed the prospect of lifting the unjustified ban with the USDA in various meetings over the past decade. Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales have highlighted that the potential market for PGI Welsh Lamb in the USA is estimated to be worth as much as £20 million a year within five years of the export restrictions being removed.

Advertisement

Speaking from his Carmarthenshire sheep farm, FUW Deputy President Ian Rickman, said: “Now more than ever we need to explore other export markets while also protecting our long established markets in Europe. The US market is one we are keen to develop much stronger relationships with and the news that this ban could soon be lifted is most welcome news for our sheep industry.”

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending