In general for 2015, the United States (EUR 619 bln, or 18% of total EU trade in goods) and China (EUR 521 bln, or 15%) continued to be the two main goods trading partners of the EU, well ahead of Switzerland (EUR 253 bln, or 7%) and Russia (EUR 210 bln, or 6%).
Trends observed over recent years are 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 period. In 2015, machinery and transport equipment, other manufactured goods and chemicals represented the main categories of product in EU international trade with the rest of the world.
Germany is the main export destination for a majority of Member States. 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%).
Source: Financial Mirror