Trade supports over 36m jobs across the EU

The Commission outlines importance of bloc's exports, amid rising protectionism

Photo: EPA European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom

Two new studies published on Tuesday by the European Commission highlight the increasing importance of EU exports for job opportunities in Europe and beyond by stating that exports to the world nowadays support 36m jobs across Europe - around two thirds more than in 2000. In addition, these jobs are on average 12% better paid than jobs in the rest of the economy and generate €2.3 trillion of value added in the bloc.

Following up the first edition of 2015, the report features a series of indicators to illustrate in detail the relationship between trade and employment for the EU as a whole and for each EU Member State using the new World Input-Output Database for the year 2016 as the main data source. This information has been complemented with data on employment by age, skill and gender. All the indicators relate to the EU exports to the rest of the world to reflect the scope of EU trade policymaking.

As a result, the published figures outline an important positive spillover effect from exports to the world. When EU exporters in one Member State do well, workers in other Member States also benefit. This is because firms providing goods and services along the supply chain also gain when their end-customer sells the final product abroad. To give an example, French exports to the rest of the world are responsible for around 627,000 jobs in other EU Member States. Furthermore, EU exports to countries around the world also support almost 20m jobs outside the bloc. These jobs have more than doubled since 2000. For instance, more than 1m jobs in the US are currently supported by the production of US goods and services that are incorporated into EU exports through global supply chains.

The report released today, during the EU Trade Policy Day, also includes detailed factsheets about the results for every EU Member State. According to data highest increases in creating and supporting jobs have been seen since 2000 in Bulgaria (+312%), Slovakia (+213%), Portugal (+172%), Lithuania (+153%), Ireland (+147%), Estonia (+147%) and Latvia (+138%).

"This study makes it crystal clear that trade means jobs. Exports from the EU to the world support the livelihoods of a vast, and increasing, number of citizens in every corner of Europe. Almost 40 percent of those whose jobs are supported by trade are women. EU trade also supports millions of jobs far beyond EU borders, including in developing countries. So here's even more proof that trade can be a win-win: what's good for us is also good for our partners around the world," Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom commented.

Notably, the report comes amid growing threat to the multilateral trading system, posed by the EU-US trade dispute and UK's exit from the bloc. Furthermore, the importance of exports across the bloc is being stressed at a time when EU trading system is facing a crisis due to rapidly rising protectionism.

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