According to the Commission’s 2nd Annual Report on the Implementation and Enforcement of EU Trade Agreements, EU exports for the first time surpassed €1 trillion in 2021. Also, the Report shows that EU efforts to break down trade barriers and support small businesses are helping EU exports and thus supporting European jobs.
44% of the EU’s trade took place under preferential trade agreements in 2021, with this expected to rise to 47.4% with the incorporation of agreements currently under adoption or ratification. Exports from the EU to preferential partners (minus the UK) grew more (16%) than EU exports to all trading partners (13%) between 2020 and 2021.
the EU currently imports 24% of its critical raw materials from preferential trading partners; this will rise to 46% once a free trade agreement with Australia, currently under negotiation, is in place. The modernisation of the agreement with Chile, the EU’s largest source of refined lithium (78%), is expected to further enhance reliable sourcing of this key resource and therefore also our green and digital transitions.
The EU’s exports in 2021 were €7.2 billion higher thanks to the removal of several trade barriers between 2015 and 2020.
In 2021, 39 trade barriers (six more than in 2020) were fully or partially removed, mostly through cooperative engagement with the trading partners concerned. The report focusses on results achieved at the WTO and within the framework of the EU’s network of preferential trade agreements, promoting the agreements and removing or averting barriers, thus helping SMEs.