Trade in goods and services is defined as change in ownership of material resources and services between one economy and another. The indicator comprises sales of goods and services as well as barter transactions or goods exchanged as part of gifts or grants between residents and non-residents. It is measured in million USD and percentage of GDP for net trade and also annual growth for exports and imports.
Within the context of globalization, stronger links between some of the world’s most rapidly growing economies — in the form of increased levels of trade and cooperation — can provide a stimulus to help ensure continued economic development.
Most economists tend to agree that ‘open’ economies grow at a faster pace than closed ones, as international trade has the potential to promote economic growth through increasing external demand for goods and services, while at the same time providing consumers with greater choice (and often lower prices), fostering efficiency and productivity gains and supporting innovation. Enterprises and households are more likely to consume goods and services from an international partner if such transactions are free from tariffs and other trade barriers, thereby allowing goods and services to cross borders in a frictionless and efficient manner.
World exports of goods and services reached nearly EUR 15 trillion in 2016
In 2016, the global value of exports of goods and services was EUR 14.6 trillion (or EUR 14 600 billion). Figure 1 shows that the highest levels of trade in goods and services were recorded, unsurprisingly, in some of the biggest economies, as the EU-28 exported more goods and services (EUR 2.6 trillion) than any individual country, while the highest level of imports was recorded by the United States (EUR 2.5 trillion).
The largest trade surplus for international trade in goods and services — as measured by the difference between exports and imports — was recorded in the EU-28 (EUR 304 billion in 2016), followed by China (EUR 226 billion). By contrast, the largest deficit was registered in the United States (EUR 456 billion), followed at some distance by India (EUR 38 billion).
Major Trades and Development in Goods and Services