Extra-euro area trade in goods

From Statistics Explained

Data from September 2014. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database.
Figure 1: Euro area trade, 2008-2013 (bn EUR)
Source: Eurostat (TET00069)
Table 1: Euro area exports by main partner countries, 2011-2013 (bn EUR)
Source: Eurostat (TET00069)
Table 2: Euro area imports by main partner countries, 2011-2013 (bn EUR)
Source: Eurostat (TET00069)
Figure 2: Euro area trade by product, 2013 (bn EUR)
Source: Eurostat (TET00070)

The aim of this article is to provide an overview of the main characteristics of the extra-euro area trade in goods. All the series between 2002 and 2013 have been recalculated to include all the 18 members of the euro area (EA-18).

Main statistical findings

Extra-euro area (EA-18) trade decreased from EUR 3 673 billion in 2012 to EUR 3 632 billion in 2013, corresponding to a fall of -1.1 %. EA-18 imports fell by 3.3 % while exports rose by 1 %. As a result, the EA-18 trade balance went from a surplus of EUR 78 billion in 2012 to a surplus of EUR 157 billion in 2013.

In 2013, the United Kingdom was the leading partner for extra-EA-18 exports, accounting for 12.6 % of all exports, followed by the United States. China led for imports with 11.7 % of total EA-18 imports, followed by the United Kingdom, the United States and Russia.

Both import and export trade were dominated by machinery and vehicles, followed by 'other manufactured goods'. In 2013, machinery and vehicles made up 41 % of EA-18 exports and 28 % of EA-18 imports.

Euro area trade by main partners

Over the whole period 2002-2013, the United Kingdom was the leading trading partner for extra EA-18 trade, followed by the United States. For EA-18, there was always a positive trade balance with both countries. In 2013, the United Kingdom accounted for 11.1 % of all extra EA-18 trade and the United States for 10.2 %. China (9 %) was the third most important trading partner in 2013 behind the United States, and Russia was fourth with 6.4 %.

Every year over the period, the United Kingdom was the leading trading partner for extra EA-18 exports, with an increase in trade value of 16 % between 2002 and 2013. The United States was second every year with an increase over the same period of 20 %.

EA-18 trade with China increased by 251 % between 2002 and 2013, with imports always significantly higher than exports. By 2007, China had overtaken the United Kingdom and the United States to become the leading trading partner for extra EA-18 imports and has remained in that position since. In 2013, EA-18 trade with China totalled EUR 326 billion, of which EUR 204 billion were imports. The United Kingdom was the second most important trading partner for EA-18 imports in 2011, the United States was third and Russia was fourth.

EA-18 trade with Russia grew by 219% over the period, with imports always higher than exports. In 2013, EA-18 trade with Russia totalled EUR 234 billion, of which EUR 145 billion were imports. The United Kingdom, the United States, China and Russia together accounted for 37 % of all extra-EA-18 trade in 2013. 

Euro area trade by product

By far the most important trade group for both extra EA-18 imports and exports was machinery and vehicles, with a trade value in 2013 of EUR 1 262 billion. EUR 776 billion were exports which represented 41 % of the value of all extra EA-18 exports in 2013. Within that group, exports of road vehicles in 2013, with an increase of 3.7 % on 2013, amounted to EUR 214 billion.

EA-18 imports of machinery and vehicles were dominated by electrical machinery which amounted to EUR 96.7 billion in 2013, in spite of a fall of 11.4 % between 2011 and 2013. Imports of road vehicles saw an increase of 3.3 % in 2013 and reached a value of EUR 93.2 billion.

In 2013, the second most important trading group for extra EA-18 trade was other manufactured goods, with trading values amounting to EUR 851 billion, of which EUR 448 billion were exports.
The largest imports were registered for articles of apparel and clothing accessories (EUR 65 billion), miscellaneous manufactured articles (EUR 58 billion), and other manufactures of metals (EUR 35 billion). Export trade for other manufactured goods was dominated by miscellaneous manufactured articles (EUR 64 billion) and other manufactures of metals (EUR 54 billion). 

Looking at the product groups that showed a trade deficit for extra EA-18 in 2013, total trade in energy products amounted to EUR 558 billion of which EUR 437 billion were imports. The dominant imports were petroleum and petroleum products amounting to EUR 339 billion, which represented about a fifth of the value of all EA-18 imports in 2013.
Total trade in raw materials in 2013 amounted to EUR 126 billion of which EUR 80 billion were imports. The most imported products in this group were metalliferous ores and metal scrap, that reached EUR 31 billion in spite of a decrease of 11 % in 2013.

Data sources and availability

EU data comes from Eurostat’s COMEXT database. COMEXT is the Eurostat reference database for international trade. It provides access not only to both recent and historical data from the EU Member States but also to statistics of a significant number of third countries. International trade aggregated and detailed statistics disseminated from Eurostat website are compiled from COMEXT data according to a monthly process. Because COMEXT is updated on a daily basis, data published on the website may differ from data stored in COMEXT in case of recent revisions.

EU data are compiled according to community guidelines and may, therefore, differ from national data published by Member States. Statistics on extra-euro area trade are calculated as the sum of trade of each of the euro area Member States with countries outside the euro area (including EU Members which are not in the euro area). In other words, the euro area is considered as a single trading entity and trade flows are measured into and out of the area, but not within it.


The euro area is a large and open trading bloc. This makes doing business in euro an attractive proposition for other trading nations, which can access a large market using one currency. Euro area companies also benefit because they can export and import in the global economy while paying, and being paid, in euro, reducing the risk of losses caused by global currency fluctuations.

See also

Further Eurostat information


Main tables

International trade data (t_ext)
International trade long-term indicators (t_ext_lti)
International trade short-term indicators (t_ext_sti)


International trade data (ext)
International trade long-term indicators (ext_lti)
International trade short-term indicators (ext_sti)
International trade detailed data (detail)

Dedicated section

Methodology / Metadata

Other information

External links