In Economy, General

The European Commission reports annually on the implementation of its main trade agreements in the preceding calendar year.

The EU’s 4th FTA implementation report provides an overview of achievements in 2019 and of outstanding work ahead for the EU’s 36 main preferential trade agreements. The accompanying staff working document  contains detailed information as per trade agreement and partner.

Among the 65 trading partners covered, Switzerland remained the EU’s top trading partner, with 21% of trade, followed by Turkey and Japan with 11% and 10% each and Norway (8.5%), accounting for half of EU preferential trade, followed by South Korea (7%) and Canada (5%).

The 36 major EU trade agreements covered by this report made a major contribution to EU global trade in 2019. EU trade with the 65 partners was worth €1.236 billion, or 30.4% of EU total external trade, resulting in an EU surplus of €113 billion, a 12% increase on 2018.

Some highlights:

  • EU agri-food exports grew by 8.7% (+ €4.4 billion), as compared to overall agri-food exports to the rest of the world, which grew by 7.6%.
  • EU industrial exports picked up from (+1.9%) in 2018 to (+3.7%) in 2019; top exports remain machinery (+1.5%), chemicals (+6.3%) and transport equipment (+5.7%).
  • Trade in services with preferential partners covered by this report that took commitments in services grew by 3.3% in 2018, thus more strongly than EU total trade in services.

To further help SMEs access the opportunities under EU trade agreements the Commission launched recently its new import and export portal “Access2Markets”.

What “Access2Markets” offers to SMEs:

  • Information in one place on exports and imports (tariffs, import and export requirements, benefits under EU trade agreements, taxes, trade statistics).
  • Information on the EU´s trade agreements and step-by-step guides on importing and exporting.
  • A Rules of Origin Self-Assessment tool for companies to assess whether their products meet the criteria for preferential rules of origin treatment under EU trade agreements.

Brochure of the report and fact sheet 

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