Europe plays a key role in world trade. Altogether, the EU28 is the largest trader
in goods and services. With EUR 2,388 bn it ranks 2 in imports (US: EUR
2,522 bn) and takes the top position for exports (EUR 2,603 bn, followed by
China with EUR 2,258 bn).
EU total trade in goods increased by 57% from 2005 to 2015 and – albeit from a
lower basis – services surged by 94%. Notwithstanding the growth in absolute
volumes, the EU’s share in world trade, 14.7% for trade in goods and 22.2% for
trade in services in 2015 compared to 17.5% and 24.1% in 2005 respectively,
slightly declined due to a mix of domestic and external factors.
Shares for the US are similarly lower than 2005 while China’s role in world trade has clearly
increased during the past decade (14.9% trade share for trade goods, i.e. + 6 pp
compared to 2005, and + 4.7 pp for trade in services bringing the share to