This shift towards Asia is likely to continue on account of the significantly higher
growth rates in Asia than in Europe and progress on trade agreements, such as
the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Regional Comprehensive Economic
Partnership (RCEP) and the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).
Although the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
negotiations between the US and Europe are still under way, critical voices have
recently been gaining strength among the public and policymakers. Should the
trend that has been around since the early 2000s continue, trade within Asia
could outstrip trade within Europe by 2019.
A look at the flow of trade between the continents also illustrates Asia’s growing
importance. The share of global trade accounted for by the flow of goods
between Asia and Europe has grown by more than one percentage point since
the early 1990s, reaching 13% in 2015. Although the significance of trade
between America and Asia started to decline in the early 1990s, it has again
risen to 12% since the mid-2000s. The importance of trade between America
and Europe has fallen by almost three percentage points to 7%.