Goods trade in the 27-member European Union was strongly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, according to the latest data from Eurostat.
In this period, exports declined by 9.4% year-on-year, while imports were down 11.6%.
The EU trade in goods balance was in surplus by €217 billion in 2020.
The Last Decade
After recording a small deficit in 2011, the EU trade balance subsequently recorded a continuous surplus, peaking at €264 billion in 2016, Eurostat noted.
The surplus decreased in 2017 and 2018, then increased again in 2019 and 2020.
In the last decade, the export growth rate declined sharply in 2020, after remaining positive until 2019, with exceptionally high values of 12% in 2011 and 9% in 2012.
The import growth also registered significant growth in 2017 and 2018, before closing the decade with a sharp decrease in 2020.
The import growth rate in the European Union peaked in 2011 to 12%, followed by small fluctuations between 2012 and 2015.
A majority of EU member states traded mainly inside the European single market in 2020, data showed.
The proportion of intra-EU and extra-EU flows in total trade in goods varied considerably across the EU Member States, reflecting historical ties and geographical location.
Luxembourg reported the highest share of intra-EU trade in 2020 for both imports and exports among the EU member states.
Ireland saw the largest share of trade for both imports and exports with third countries, with the UK as its first trade partner.
In 2020, the Netherlands was the entry point of the EU, importing a large share of goods from third countries and dispatching them within the union.