CIS-EU - trade in goods
From Statistics Explained
- Data from May 2011. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database.
- Article drafted in cooperation with CIS-STAT, the Interstate Statistical Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) has become a significant trading partner of the European Union (EU) in recent years, with imports and exports growing from EUR 109.7 billion in 2000 to EUR 322.4 billion in 2010 (+294 %). Russia’s weight among the eleven countries comprising the CIS is considerable, accounting for 79 % of EU-27 imports from the CIS and 71 % of EU-27 exports to the CIS.
In 2010, 78 % of EU imports from the CIS consisted of ‘Mineral fuels’ (subject to considerable price fluctuations), whereas EU exports were more diversified, albeit with a prominent share of ‘Machinery and transport equipment’ (44 %).
The more recent increase in EU-27 imports from countries such as Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan can essentially be attributed to energy products.
Main statistical findings
Russia is main trading partner, while oil accounts for 85 % of total EU-27 imports from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan
In 2010, the EU-27 imported close to EUR 200 billion in goods from the CIS, accounting for 12.4 % of total extra-EU-27 imports. In parallel, EU-27 exports to the CIS amounted to EUR 122.5 billion, representing 9.0 % of total extra-EU-27 goods exports.
The EU-27 trade deficit with the CIS amounted to EUR 77.4 billion in 2010, which is equivalent to 24 % of the total value of the EU-27’s goods trade with the group (Figure 1).
CIS members have followed different development paths since the early 1990s. Between 2000 and 2010, numerous trade partnerships have been agreed between CIS countries, the EU-27 and individual Member States.
The European Commission actively supports its partners in developing trade, for example through Partnership and Cooperation Agreements. In a further example, most Central Asian countries are beneficiaries of the EU's Generalised System of Preferences.
Bilateral trade in goods between the 11 CIS countries and the EU-27 is detailed for the years 2000, 2005, 2009 and 2010 (Table 1).
Between 2000 and 2010, EU-27 imports from the CIS grew by 10.1 % a year, which can be explained to a large extent by the rise in imports from Russia (which has a considerable weight in the CIS total), and by higher imports from Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Ukraine. Over the same period, EU-27 exports to CIS countries grew by 13.9 % a year on average, mainly as a result of higher exports to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan (4.3 %).
Ten-fold increase of EU-27 imports from Azerbaijan in 10 years
Figure 2 presents import indices for the five countries accounting for the greatest shares of EU-27 imports from the CIS countries in 2010.
Although EU-27 imports from the entire Commonwealth of Independent States grew by close to 160 % between 2000 and 2010, imports from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan increased by 882 % and 315 % respectively over the same period.
Starting from a low level in absolute terms, the strong growth in those countries’ exports to the EU-27 can be mainly attributed to the increase in production and distribution capacity for ‘Mineral fuels'.
Figure 3 presents export indices for the five countries accounting for the greatest shares of EU-27 exports to the CIS countries in 2010.
EU-27 exports to the CIS grew by 266 % from 2000 to 2010. Exports to the five selected countries grew solidly, in particular to Azerbaijan (550 %). Given the small export volumes in 2000, close to half of EU exports to Azerbaijan can be explained by an increase in exports of ‘Machinery and transport equipment’.
EU-27 trade in goods by CIS country
Central Asian CIS countries with small shares
Between 2000 and 2010, trade in goods between the EU-27 and the CIS was characterised by growing demand for imports, new or stronger product marketing (in particular regarding certain CIS countries’ endowments in mineral fuels), the 2009 financial crisis and high volatility in raw-materials prices.
Figure 4 presents EU-27 trade in goods with the individual CIS countries in 2010. In terms of total trade value, four main partners stand out:
- Russia, the EU-27’s third main partner in goods trade worldwide, and its main source of imports and destination of exports in the CIS;
- Ukraine, the second main destination for EU-27 exports and the third main source of imports;
- Kazakhstan, the EU-27’s second main source of imports and its fourth main destination of exports;
- Azerbaijan, newly ranked fourth in terms of total trade, with an average annual growth rate of 24 % over the ten-year period.
Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, from which the EU-27 imports most of its mineral fuels, contributed in large part to the EU-27’s EUR 77.4 billion trade deficit with the CIS. Situated in the ‘Caspian Belt’ and with high levels of foreign direct investments, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan are finding new opportunities to market their oil and gas reserves internationally.
Figure 5 presents the distribution by country of the value of EU-27 imports from the CIS in 2010. The share of EU imports from Russia in total CIS imports fell by 4 percentage points (PP), from 84 % in 2000 to 79 % in 2010. Azerbaijan's share in EU-27 imports from the CIS rose by 4 PP, from 1 % to 5 %. Kazakhstan recorded a similar proportional increase, its share growing from 5 % to 8 %.
Figure 6 shows the distribution of the value (in EUR) of EU-27 exports to the CIS countries in 2010. Russia has strengthened its position as the main destination of EU-27 exports to the CIS, as it went from accounting for 68 % of EU-27 exports to the CIS in 2000 to 71 % in 2010 (+3 PP). Over the same period, the export market share of Azerbaijan also increased (+1 PP), whereas Ukraine (-2 PP), Uzbekistan and Moldova (both: -1 PP) recorded decreases in their share of EU-27 exports to the CIS.
The EU-27’s deficit in goods trade with Russia grew from EUR 41.0 billion in 2000 to EUR 71.9 billion in 2010. Deficits also increased with Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, and amounted to EUR 10.6 billion and EUR 7.4 billion respectively in 2010. These trade deficits, which mainly arise from EU mineral fuels imports, were compensated to a certain extent by trade surpluses with the eight other CIS countries. Nevertheless, they explain the EU-27’s EUR 77.4 billion deficit with the CIS in large part.
Types of goods traded
Oil and gas from the CIS, machinery and transport equipment to the CIS
Looking in more detail at the types of goods traded between the EU-27 and the CIS, Figure 7 and Figure 8 respectively depict the distributions of EU-27 imports from and exports to the CIS by SITC (1-digit) Section, in 2010. While EU-27 imports mainly included ‘Mineral fuels’ (78 %), exports to the CIS can be divided into three main categories:‘Machinery and transport equipment’ (44 %), ‘Other manufactured goods’ (24 %) and ‘Chemicals’ (18 %).
From 2000 to 2010, the increase in the value of EU-27 imports from the CIS is nearly all explained by greater purchases of ‘Mineral fuels’. The increasing demand for products of that section is reflected by changes in the distribution by product of EU-27 imports from the CIS.
The share of ‘Mineral fuels’ in EU-27 imports from the CIS grew by 18 PP from 59.4 % in 2000 to 77.8 % in 2010. Import shares were especially reduced in ‘Manufactured goods’ (-8 PP), ‘Crude materials’ (-5 PP) and ‘Chemicals’ (-2 PP).
Over the same period, nearly half of the increase in value of EU-27 exports to the CIS can be explained by the increase in sales of ‘Machinery and transport equipment’, by ‘Chemicals’ and followed by ‘Manufactured goods’. The share of ‘Machinery and transport equipment’ in total EU-27 exports to the CIS increased (+ 6 PP) between 2000 and 2010, as did that of ‘Chemicals’ (+4 PP), while the relative importance of ‘Manufactured goods’, ‘Miscellaneous manufactured articles’, and ‘Food and live animals’ was reduced (each: -3 PP).
A closer look at Eurostat Comext trade data, including some expressed in units of weight (kg) reveals that the increase in the value of EU-27 imports of ‘Mineral fuels’ from the CIS appears to have been largely driven by price increases.
This appears to be the case, for example, with SITC product Group (3-digit) ‘Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude’, which accounted, in value, for half of all imports from the CIS in 2010 (50.2 %).
Reflecting stronger demand, met thanks to higher production and transport capacity, the weight in kg of annual EU-27 imports of crude oil from the CIS increased by 87.1 % from 2000 to 2010.
The value of EU-27 imports of crude oil from the CIS nearly quadrupled over the period (+ 285 %). In particular, the difference can be attributed to strong rises in crude oil prices on international markets between 2003 and mid-2008.
One may note that, over the period under analysis, the euro appreciated by 55 % with respect to the Russian rouble, and by 44 % with respect to the US dollar (Source: European Central Bank (ECB).
EU-27 exports far more diverse than imports
Table 2 presents the five top products at SITC 2-digit (Division) level imported from and exported to the individual CIS countries by the EU-27 in 2010.
The top product Division imported always accounted for a greater share of total EU-27 imports from a CIS country than the share of the top product exported to that country.
For six CIS countries, a single product Division accounted for over half of the EU-27’s imports from that country.
In those cases, the product imported was also always ‘Petroleum, petroleum products and related materials’ (SITC 33), except in the case of EU-27 imports from Tajikistan (54 %: ‘Non-ferrous metals’) and from the Kyrgyz Republic (91 %: ‘Inorganic chemicals’). In contrast, EU-27 imports from Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Belarus and Moldova were more diversified.
EU-27 exports to the CIS countries also displayed more diversity in 2010 as the share of the top product Division exported by the EU-27 to the CIS did not exceed 20 % (‘General industrial machinery’: 20 % of exports to Turkmenistan, ‘Other transport equipment’: 20 % of exports to Uzbekistan).
Data sources and availability
All data presented in this publication are stemming from Comext, Eurostat’s database containing statistics on the trade in goods. These data may differ from those produced by the national statistical services of the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Methodology for external trade statistics
In the methodology applied for statistics on the trading of goods, extra-EU trade (trade between Member States and non-member countries) 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.
Information on commodities exported and imported are presented according to the Standard international trade classification (SITC) at a more general level (1-digit – Figures 7 and 8) and a more detailed level (2-digit – Table 2).
In this statistical article: 1 billion = 1 000 000 000.
The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) has become a significant trading partner of the EU-27 in recent years, with imports and exports growing from EUR 109.7 billion in 2000 to EUR 322.4 billion in 2010 (+294 %). Russia’s weight in the CIS is considerable, accounting for 79 % of EU-27 imports from the CIS and 71 % of EU-27 exports to the CIS.
Further Eurostat information
- EU-27 trade in goods with the Commonwealth of Independent States, 2000–2010 Statistics in focus 40/2011
- External trade, see:
- External trade detailed data (detail)
- Traditional external trade database access (ComExt) (comext)