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  June 20th, 2016 | Written by

EU Trade in Services Continued to Rise in 2015

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  • The growth in EU's international trade in services between 2010 and 2015 is twice as high as the growth in goods trade.
  • Transport and travel were the main categories of services traded by the EU in 2015.
  • A significant deficit was recorded in 2015 by the EU for charges for the use of intellectual property.

The international trade in services of the European Union (EU) has increased steadily and significantly over the last six years. EU exports of services to the rest of the world rose by 42 percent, from €569.5 billion in 2010 to €811.2 billion in 2015, while imports grew slightly more rapidly, by 43 percent from €461.6 billion to €660.5 billion.

As a consequence, the EU trade surplus in services, which had steadily increased between 2010 and 2013, has decreased for the second consecutive year in 2015 to €150.7 billion.

These are figures reported in a recent report from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. (Note: one euro equals 1.12 U.S. dollars.)

This growth in EU’s international trade in services over the period between 2010 and 2015 is around twice as high as the growth in the EU’s international trade in goods over this same time period.

Accounting together for around a third of total extra-EU exports (32 percent) and imports (35 percent), transport and travel were in 2015 the main categories of services traded by the EU, along with other business services (28 percent and 29 percent).

The EU surplus in 2015 was mainly due to surpluses in telecommunications, computer, and information services (+€58.9 billion), financial services (+€42.3 billion) and other business services (+€31.3 billion), while a significant deficit was recorded for charges for the use of intellectual property (-€43.1 billion).

In 2015, the main partners for EU exports of services remained the United States (€212.1 billion, or 26 percent of extra-EU exports) and Switzerland (€116.3 billion, 14 percent), well ahead of China (€36.0 billion, or 4 percent), Japan (€27.9 billion, 3 percent), and Russia (€24.3 billion, 3 percent). The main partner for EU imports of services also continued to be the United States (€202.8 billion, 31 percent of extra-EU imports), followed by Switzerland (€68.0 billion, 10 percent), China (€25.7 billion, 4 percent), Japan (€15.6 billion, 2 percent) and India (€13.7 billion, 2 percent).

In 2015, the EU recorded surpluses in trade in services with all its main partners, except Hong Kong (-€1.0 billion).

The largest surplus was observed by far with Switzerland (€48.3 billion), followed by Russia (€12.6 billion), Japan (€12.3 billion), China (€10.3 billion) and the United States (€9.3 billion).