EU exports increased by more than €5 billion in 2020

EU exports increased by more than €5 billion in 2020
27 October 2021

Effective implementation and enforcement of EU trade agreements and international trade rules have added €5.4 billion to EU exports in 2020. This confirms that European Commission efforts are paying off. Tangible results range from the elimination of trade barriers to addressing unfair trade practices and taking action on trade and sustainable development. Over the past year, the Commission has also developed further legal instruments to strengthen the EU's capacity to defend its key interests and protect its open strategic autonomy.

The Commission's first comprehensive annual report on implementation and enforcement, published today, describes the Commission's actions, in close partnership with EU business, Member States and stakeholders, to keep markets open and ensure that EU trading partners comply with their commitments. The report covers four priority areas:

1 - Making full use of the opportunities provided by EU trade agreements

2 - Supporting the uptake of trade agreements by small businesses

3 - Addressing trade barriers

4 - Enforcing trade commitments through dispute settlement


Examples of concrete action by the Commission in the past year:

  • The Commission removed 33 trade barriers in 22 partner countries;
  • European companies have exported an additional €4 billion in 2020 than they would have without the elimination of barriers;
  • The Commission launched its Access to Markets online platform, which provides essential support to 584,000 SMEs so they can export more easily and faster;
  • The Single Entry Point for complaints has transformed the way companies and stakeholders can flag trade barriers or breaches of trade and sustainable development commitments by partner countries to the Commission;
  • The Commission made progress on several dispute settlement actions, including on labour rights, either to the WTO or under EU trade agreements. 

The Commission has also taken decisive steps to enforce its rights and defend its values more assertively. It is finalising important legislation to further enhance enforcement and implementation:

  • The new Foreign Direct Investment screening mechanism in force since October 2020 allows EU Member States and the Commission to become aware of transactions, cooperate and coordinate their actions on these foreign investments. Member States can also share their views on the potential impact on security and/or public order in their territory of investments taking place in another Member State.
  • In September 2021, the EU's updated Export Control rules entered into force. The new framework strengthens our ability to control the export of dual-use technologies and allows the Union greater autonomy in doing so.
  • The Commission is preparing a legislative proposal for a new anti-coercion instrument that will allow the EU to respond to attempts by other countries to force the EU or its countries to bring about policy changes.
  • The Commission has proposed an International Procurement Instrument which will help ensure a level playing field in the global procurement market.
  • A new tool is in the works to address the potentially distortive effects of foreign subsidies in the Single Market. The new tool is designed to effectively tackle foreign subsidies that cause distortions and harm the level playing field in the Single Market in any market situation.

Image © European Commission 


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