According to the EU Commission’s annual report on the implementation of trade agreements released on 14 October, European companies have continued to make good use of the opportunities created by the EU’s trade network, despite the difficult global economic climate.

Last year, this network covered 31% of Europe’s trade exchanges, a figure that is set to rise significantly (to almost 40%) as more trade agreements enter into force.

“Trade agreements create opportunities for European businesses to grow and hire more people. Today’s report shows that overall trade is up, and more of our global trade is covered by preferential deals than ever before”, said EU Commissioner for trade, Cecilia Malmström.

Overall, international trade accounts for 35% of the EU’s GDP. Last year, EU exports to and imports from trade agreement partners showed positive developments, with a continued growth of 2% and 4.6% respectively, with a strong performance of EU agri-food exports.