EU's importance as US trading partner growing again


As reported by Statistics Netherlands today, the EU’s share in US trading of goods has increased since 2013. In the first nine months of 2015, the share was 18.5 percent of total US goods trade, up from 16.8 percent in 2013. This is still below the 2009 level when the EU’s share stood at 19.5 percent.

In the period 2009 to 2012, US goods trade with China and Mexico grew more steeply than its trade with the EU when measured in US dollars, but trade with the EU picked up pace as of 2013. US trade with countries such as Japan, Canada and Russia even declined that year, leaving room for growth in its trade with the EU.

The US and the EU are currently negotiating  a new bilateral trade and investment agreement (TTIP) which is to further boost goods trade among others between both sides. Over twenty years’ time, the EU lost some ground in bilateral trade with the US while Canada and Japan saw dramatic losses. China and Mexico gained considerable ground, on the other hand.

Imports from EU growing more strongly than exports to EU

In 1995, US imports of goods from the EU were more or less equal to its exports to the EU. Twenty years later, the US is importing much more from the EU than it exports, resulting in a substantial surplus for the EU in bilateral trade with the US. Following the collapse of world trade in 2009, the surplus started to fall, but it increased significantly afterwards and is now larger than ever. 

Value of US trade with EU-28, first nine months in all years

China and Mexico gaining ground in US trade

China’s share in US goods trade has nearly quadrupled in twenty years’ time, from 4.3 to 15.7 percent. Mexico’s share has grown strongly as well from 8.1 to 14.1 percent. China and Mexico appear to have acquired most of the shares previously held by Japan and Canada.

This year, the EU-28 is the US’ main trading partner. Back in 1995, this position was held by Canada. As of 2015 the EU is the second largest export market for American goods after Canada and the second largest goods exporter to the US after China.
At present, the Netherlands ranks 13th as US trading partner, with a share of 1.5 percent  in the American goods trade. Like the EU’s share, the share of the Netherlands has fallen slightly (1.7 percent in 1995).

Share of main trading partners US in total US trade value, first nine months in both years

US is largest EU trading partner outside the EU

The EU’s largest trading partner by far is the EU itself, as nearly two-thirds of EU trade takes place within the Union. Outside the EU the US is the most important trading partner, and also the largest export market for EU goods. In addition, the US is the second largest provider of goods to the EU after China. Switzerland also ranks high as a non-EU country due to its geographical position.

Main EU trading partners outside the EU, January-August 2015