ASEAN-EU - trade and investment statistics
From Statistics Explained
- Data from July 2011. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database.
This article analyses recent statistics on trade in goods and services between the European Union (EU) and the 10 ASEAN countries, as well as EU foreign direct investment (FDI) outflows towards ASEAN countries.
The EU has recorded deficits in trade in goods with the ASEAN countries since 2000. In 2010 the deficit was EUR 26 billion, a substantial rise compared with the previous year. The main products imported from the ASEAN countries include electronic equipment, covering computers and consumer items, clothing and footwear, pharmaceuticals, crude rubber, palm oil and furniture. The EU exported mainly machinery and transport equipment including aircraft, alongside pharmaceuticals and medical equipment to ASEAN countries.
For trade in services, the EU has been in surplus from 2005 to 2009, recording EUR 2 billion in 2009. Of the major ASEAN partner countries, only with Thailand the EU did record a deficit in that year.
In 2009, EU foreign direct investment (FDI) outflows declined sharply while inflows were little changed. FDI stocks grew in 2009. Singapore is the main investment partner.
Main statistical findings
EU-27 trade and investment with ASEAN countries - Goods trade with ASEAN countries rebounds from'2009 to 2010; EU trade deficit rises by nearly 30 %
Figure 1 shows total trade in goods. Despite an increased deficit in 2010, as a proportion of total trade the deficit has been declining over the long term. The deficit was 18 % in 2010 increasing from 15 % from the previous year, but it was lower than in any year prior to 2008. In 2000, it had been 29 % with the change reflecting an improved performance against Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.
EU’s trade deficit with the ASEAN countries in 2010
The EU’s overall deficit with the ASEAN countries in 2010 is the result of a surplus of EUR 5 billion with Singapore being outweighed by deficits with Malaysia (EUR 9 billion), Indonesia (EUR 7 billion), Thailand (EUR 7 billion), Vietnam (EUR 5 billion) and the Philippines (EUR 2 billion) (Figure 2). This pattern has persisted since 2006. The other ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar) had low levels of trade with the EU.
Among the ASEAN countries, Table 1 shows that Singapore recorded the highest level of EU exports in 2010, at EUR 24 billion, amounting to nearly 40 % of the ASEAN total, followed by Malaysia (EUR 11 billion), Thailand (EUR 10 billion) and Indonesia (6 billion). Among the major recipients of EU exports, the fastest growth between 2009 and 2010 was recorded by Thailand (31 %), the Philippines (26 %) and Vietnam (24 %).
Concerning imports to the EU, Malaysia was the main partner at EUR 21 billion, under a quarter of the ASEAN total, followed by Singapore (EUR 19 billion), Thailand (EUR 17 billion) and Indonesia (EUR 14 billion). Malaysia and the Philippines both had the fastest growth in imports to the EU between 2009 and 2010 at 41 %. Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand also recorded increases of greater than 20 %.
Machinery and transport equipment the main component in EU/ASEAN trade
Machinery and transport equipment accounted for more than half of EU exports to the ASEAN countries in 2010. Included in this group are medical apparatus, aircraft, and oil and gas extraction machinery (Figure 3). The next largest group at 15 % is chemicals, mainly pharmaceuticals. The most important component of the miscellaneous manufactured articles (8 % of the total) is professional and scientific instruments while food at 4 % included dairy products and cereals.
Figure 4 shows that machinery and transport equipment was again the largest element in EU imports from ASEAN in 2010 accounting for 44 % of the total. This group comprised of electronic equipment, computers and phones. Miscellaneous manufactured articles, mainly clothing and footwear was the second largest group at 20 %. Chemicals, largely organic chemicals and pharmaceutical products, made up 11 % of the total. Food exports, at 7 % of the total, were largely fish, coffee and fruit. In the manufactured goods, the main components of the 6 % share of the total were textiles and rubber products. Palm oil was the main element of the other category, followed by crude rubber and petroleum and petroleum products.
The main exports: Machinery and transport equipment and Pharmaceuticals
As Table 2 illustrates, the patterns of trade vary markedly between the ASEAN countries. Some, Myanmar, Brunei, Cambodia and Laos, have very low levels of trade with the EU. In contrast, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia are major trading partners.
EU exports to Singapore totalled EUR 24 billion in 2010. Machinery and transport equipment accounted for more than a half of this and includes electrical machinery with some medical equipment and other transport equipment, particularly aircraft. Other large categories were pharmaceuticals and medical instruments. Machinery and transport equipment accounted for more than half the EUR 11 billion exports to Malaysia. The main component within this group is electrical machinery, an area covering medical apparatus among others. Other main components were again pharmaceuticals and machinery specialised for particular industries.
There was a similar pattern in the EUR 10 billion of exports to Thailand. Exports of machinery and transport equipment were almost half the total. The main components were aircraft in other transport equipment and general industrial equipment including pumps for oil and gas extraction. Pharmaceuticals was another important export area. Exports to Indonesia were worth EUR 6 billion with machinery and transport equipment exports focused on specialised machinery for specific industries and general industrial machinery. Indonesia however differed from the other countries in that pharmaceuticals was not the main element of chemical imports; organic chemicals emerged as the strongest component. The EUR 5 billion of exports to Vietnam and EUR 4 billion to the Philippines showed similar patterns with machinery and transport equipment dominant but with a significant contribution from pharmaceuticals. The other four countries, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar shared EUR 0.6 billion of exports between them.
More diversity in EU imports from ASEAN
Table 3 indicates that there was much more diversity in the patterns of imports to the EU from the ASEAN countries. Malaysia, the largest source of imports at EUR 21 billion, was a major supplier of electronic equipment and machinery, covering computers, telecommunications and electronic assemblies.
However, crude rubber and palm oil were also important elements along with furniture. Singapore, the second largest ASEAN exporter to the EU at EUR 19 billion, had a broad spread of machinery and transport equipment but also a strong pharmaceutical element as well as organic chemicals. Thailand’s total of EUR 17 billion also included crude rubber but there were more significant amounts of electronic items as well as road motor vehicles coming from the plants newly established there.
Imports from Indonesia at EUR 14 billion saw coffee and fish added to crude rubber and palm oil as major items. Machinery and transport equipment, while important, is not as dominant as for the other countries but television and audio equipment make up the largest element. Miscellaneous manufactures, covering furniture, clothing and footwear, have more weight. Vietnam is somewhat similar in that it supplies significant amounts of fish, coffee but no crude rubber or palm oil in its EUR 9 billion of exports to the EU. However, its manufactured outputs are heavily concentrated on furniture, clothing and footwear. The main concentration of the Philippines EUR 5 billion-worth of exports is television and audio equipment but also some palm oil. Of the other countries, Cambodia’s EUR 1 billion mainly concerned clothing and footwear. The remaining countries, Brunei, Laos and Myanmar contributed less than EUR 0.6 billion in total.
Other business services the key to the EU’s surplus in services
As Table 4 shows, the EU has recorded a surplus in trade in services with the ASEAN countries over the years 2005 to 2009. Deficits on transportation and travel were more than offset by the surplus on other services in each year. In 2009, there was an overall surplus of EUR 2 billion, with a EUR 7 billion surplus on other services and a deficit of EUR 5 billion on transportation and travel. The deficit on transportation reflected deficits for both sea and air transport, while the deficit on travel applied to both business and personal travel. The surplus on other business services arose in financial services, computer services, royalties and license fees, merchanting and technical consultancy.
Over the four years from 2005 to 2009 the surplus, as a percentage of total credits and debits, has oscillated in the range of 4 % to 10 %, reaching a peak of 10 % in 2007 and starting at a low of 4 % in 2005.
Table 5 shows the trade in services for selected individual ASEAN countries. Again, Singapore is the EU’s major trading partner, accounting for the lion’s share of both credits and debits, particularly for other services. Largely the same pattern emerges of a deficit on transportation and travel being offset by a surplus on other services. The exception is Thailand where there is an overall deficit of EUR 2.5 billion in 2009, mainly on travel with transportation and other services offsetting each other. The fact that much of the deficit was on personal travel underlines the importance of the tourist market for the Thai economy. In contrast, for Singapore tourism is less important and other services play a critical role leading to a EUR 3 billion surplus for the EU. Royalties and license fees were a particularly important area for credits with Singapore. With the other countries, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, the EU recorded surpluses on trade in services. Again the travel and tourism market is important for Indonesia where the EU had a EUR 0.5 billion deficit on travel, especially in the personal travel category. However, this was offset by a substantial surplus of over EUR 1 billion in other services.
Malaysia had the same pattern as Singapore but at a lower level with a surplus on other services largely outweighing deficits on travel and transportation.
Singapore: the EU’s main ASEAN FDI partner
As Table 6 illustrates, the figures for FDI are very volatile between years, varying from an outflow to the ASEAN countries of EUR 25 billion in 2008 to EUR 6 billion in 2009. Even so, Singapore emerges as the EU’s main FDI partner among the ASEAN countries. While its FDI outflow figure for 2009 is only slightly higher than that for Indonesia, in 2008 it received EUR 22 billion, far outweighing any other country. Malaysia also recorded large FDI outflows over the period from 2006 to 2009, peaking at EUR 4 billion in 2007.
In terms of FDI inflows, Singapore’s figure of EUR 2.8 billion in 2009 almost exactly matched the total for the ASEAN countries in that year. In all years from 2006 to 2009, Singapore has provided the major share of ASEAN FDI inflows, reaching EUR 11 billion in 2007 from an ASEAN total of EUR 12 billion. No other ASEAN country reached an FDI inflow, positive or negative, of more than EUR 1 billion over the four years 2006 to 2009.
EU outward FDI stocks in the ASEAN countries rose by 18 % in 2009 to EUR 163 billion (Table 7). Among the main partner countries, Singapore, accounting for around 60 % of the ASEAN total, recorded a 7 % rise in 2009 while Malaysia achieved an 82 % increase. Only the Philippines experienced a fall of 8 %. Over the longer term, ASEAN outward FDI stocks have shown a sustained rise from 2006 to 2009, nearly doubling to EUR 163 billion in 2009. With the exception of the Philippines, the same sustained rise emerges for all the main partner countries. Between 2006 and 2009, Singapore’s outward FDI stocks rose by 82 % while those of Malaysia increased by 164 % to reach EUR 25 billion, some 15 % of the ASEAN total. This represents a substantial rise on Malaysia’s share of 10 % in 2006. The other main partners (Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand) saw their share of the total decline.
There is a very different picture for EU inward FDI stocks. Here, Singapore is the dominant partner, accounting for well over 90 % of the ASEAN total of EUR 53 billion in 2009, up 27 % on 2008.
Among the smaller inward FDI countries, Thailand recorded a 105 % rise in 2009, while the Philippines showed a rise of 38 %. Both Malaysia (-21 %) and Indonesia (-12 %) reported falls. Over the longer run, inward FDI stocks have nearly doubled since 2006 but fell back 9 % in 2008, no doubt a reflection of the problems in EU stock markets following the global economic crisis that year. The rise in Singapore’s inward FDI stocks over the four years at 87 % was less than the 92 % rise in overall ASEAN inward FDI stocks so that Singapore’s market share fell but still accounted for 94 % of the ASEAN total in 2009. The biggest increase was recorded by Thailand. It saw its inward FDI more than treble over the four years but its share of the ASEAN total in 2009 was 2 %, compared with Malaysia's 5 %.
Data sources and availability
The figures presented in this publication have been extracted from Eurostat’s free dissemination database and reflect the state of data availability in July 2011.
Data on the trade of goods are also available in Eurostat’s COMEXT database. In the methodology applied for the statistics on the trading of goods between Member States and non-member countries (extra-EU trade), statistics do not record exchanges involving goods in transit, placed in a customs warehouse or given temporary admission (for trade fairs, temporary exhibitions, tests, etc.). This is known as "special trade". So the partner will be the country of final destination of the goods. Data on the trade of services are based on balance of payments statistics. The balance of payments records all economic transactions between a country (i.e. its residents) and foreign countries or international organisations (i.e. the non-residents of that country) during a given period. As part of the balance of payments, the current account records real resources and is subdivided into four basic components: goods, services, income and current transfers. The methodological framework used is that of the fifth edition of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Balance of Payments Manual (BPM5). The EU balance of payments is compiled by Eurostat in accordance with a methodology agreed with the European Central Bank (ECB).
Category "Other services" includes: “Merchanting”, “Architectural, engineering and other technical consultancy”, “Services between affiliated enterprises”, “Communication”, “Construction”, “Insurance”, “Financial”, “Computer services” and “Royalties and licence fees”.
Data of foreign direct investment (FDI) are based on the methodological framework of the OECD Benchmark Definition of Foreign Direct Investment - Third edition, a detailed operational definition fully consistent with the IMF Balance of Payments Manual, Fifth Edition, BPM5. Foreign direct investment (FDI) is the category of international investment made by an entity resident in one economy (direct investor) to acquire a lasting interest in an enterprise operating in another economy (direct investment enterprise). The lasting interest is deemed to exist if the direct investor acquires at least 10 % of the voting power of the direct investment enterprise. Through outward FDI flows, an investor country builds up FDI assets abroad (outward FDI stocks). Correspondingly, inward FDI flows cumulate into liabilities towards foreign investors (inward FDI stocks). However, changes in FDI stocks differ from FDI flows because of the impact of revaluation (changes in prices and, for outward stocks, exchange rates) and other adjustments such as catastrophic losses, cancellation of loans, reclassification of existing assets or liabilities. FDI flows are components of the financial account of the balance of payments, while FDI assets and liabilities are components of the international investment position.
SITC classification (Figures 3 and 4, Tables 2 and 5)
Information on commodities exported and imported is presented according to the Standard international trade classification (SITC) at a general level. A full description is available through Eurostat’s classification server RAMON.
COMEXT data (trade of goods): please note that the sums of the individual SITC product categories are less than the totals due to confidentiality reasons.
In this article:
- 1 billion = 1000 million
- ':' not available
The EU has recorded deficits in trade in goods with the 10 ASEAN countries since 2000. In 2010 the deficit was EUR 26 billion, a substantial rise compared with the previous year. The main products imported from the ASEAN countries include electronic equipment, covering computers and consumer items, clothing and footwear, pharmaceuticals, crude rubber, palm oil and furniture. The EU exported mainly machinery and transport equipment including aircraft, alongside pharmaceuticals and medical equipment to ASEAN countries. For trade in services, the EU has been in surplus from 2005 to 2009, recording EUR 2 billion in 2009. Of the major ASEAN partner countries, only with Thailand the EU did record a deficit in that year. In 2009, EU foreign direct investment (FDI) outflows declined sharply while inflows were little changed. FDI stocks grew in 2009. Singapore is the main investment partner.
Further Eurostat information
- Goods trade with ASEAN countries rebounds from 2009 to 2010 - Statistics in focus 47/2011
- Balance of payments, see:
- Balance of payments - International transactions (t_bop)
- International trade in services, geographical breakdown (t_bop_its)
- European Union direct investments (t_bop_fdi)
- External trade, see:
- External trade data (t_ext)
- Balance of payments, see:
- Balance of payments - International transactions (bop)
- International trade in services, geographical breakdown (bop_its)
- European Union direct investments (bop_fdi)
- External trade, see:
- External trade data (ext)
- External trade detailed data (detail)
Methodology / Metadata
- OECD Benchmark Definition of Foreign Direct Investment - Third edition
- IMF Balance of Payments Manual - Fifth edition
- Eurostat - RAMON (classification server)