Facts: the benefits of economic globalisation in Europe 


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Increased exports, jobs, opportunities for companies... Find out facts on how globalisation can benefit people and enterprises in the EU.

Globalisation creates many benefits and opportunities, as well as challenges. The EU aims to make globalisation work by maximising its opportunities and mitigating its negative effects.

More trade for European companies

The European trade regime and the numerous trade agreements negotiated by the EU make it a good region to do business with. It is the top trading partner for 80 countries.

As a result, the EU is one of the largest players in international trade, next to the US and China, with EU exports representing more than 15% of global exports. More than 80% of European exporters are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

EU exports of trade and services grew from about €1160 billion in 2000 to €2900 billion in 2018. In 2017, exports to South Korea increased by more than 12%, to Colombia by more than 10%, and EU exports to Canada rose by 7%.

Jobs linked to exports  

Job opportunities

Globalisation also creates job opportunities. In 2017, more than 36 million jobs (one in seven) in the EU were supported by exports to countries outside the EU. Every billion in exports from the EU supports on average around 13,000 jobs within the union.

For example: in France in 2018, exports outside the EU supported 2.8 million jobs, representing 12% of jobs in the country. Two thirds of these jobs were in services.

Most of those export-related jobs are well paid. They are on average 12% better paid than other jobs.

Advantages for consumers

The big benefits of globalisation and trade to the consumer come from imports. Trade agreements mean importers pay lower duties. Together with increased competition, this means lower prices for goods and services.

Consumers can also benefit from more choice, as the variety of products and services increases.

The benefits of lower prices and more choice amount to about €600 a year per EU consumer.

The level of wealth and comfort is increasing while standards of living are improving.

Benefits of trade within the EU

Inside the EU, the single market aims to remove barriers to trade between EU countries.

The European single market is the world's biggest barrier-free, economic area. This area includes more than 500 million people with a gross domestic product of about €13 trillion.

It is estimated that the single market has created 2.8 million jobs.