In billions of dollars and in % of all exports.
International Trade of Merchandises, 2003-2013
The recent decades have seen important changes in
flows. A growing share of international trade occurs within regions (and
particularly economic blocs) even if long distance trade has
increased in absolute numbers. Significant trade flows are between Asia and North America (especially the United States), between Europe and North
America and between Europe and Asia. For several reasons, such as geographical
proximity (Eastern Europe), energy (Middle East) and colonial legacy (Africa), the European
Union has significant trading linkages with other pars of the world (not shown
on the above figure). North America,
also maintains important trade linkages with Latin America (not shown). Another important
characteristic of the contemporary commercial setting concerns imbalances in trade
flows. For instance, Asia exports more than it imports and that North America imports more than it exports.
Three major poles account for the majority of the global trade, about
83% of all exports in 2013. Most of this trade is however regional in scale,
particularly within the Europe where close to 69% of all
exports are taking place within the region, up from 62% in 2003.
This is also the case for Asia, which has seen the share of
regional trade slightly increase to about 53% (from 50%) in
spite of the high level of export dependency of many of its
economies. All of the above is underlining a growing
regionalization of trade relations.