What are the top import products of the EU?

Top import products

Are you trying to gain knowledge about the products the European Union imports the most? Are you perhaps looking to invest or trade some of these products? But are there too many laws that you don’t understand? This article is your one-stop for all the questions that you might have. Read along to find out everything you need to know about the top import products in the EU.

Why do countries import?

In today’s day and age where every country is a nuclear power, establishing good relationships with other countries is key. Having as many allies as possible is the right move for every country. A good export-import trade between countries helps form and maintains these relationships.

Typically a country imports goods if:

  • the country doesn’t manufacture the products at all.
  • a country doesn’t produce enough abundance to meet the demand.
  • the import of products is cheaper than their production.

What are the import laws of the EU?

The 28 countries that are included in the European Union have the most accorded trading laws. Only a few major differences prevail, except those where the laws are pretty much the same. A company will need to comply with each restriction, law, and requirement before exporting to the EU. These restrictions and laws are listed on their website.

The European Union is the number one trader of imports and exports around the world. Their laws, regulations, and restrictions are the most accommodating and favourable. Not only does the EU has the lowest tariff rates, but it also imports more from least developed countries (LDC) than those that have a stable economy. This act helps LDCs acquire more funds to grow their economies.

Countries that EU imports from the most:

According to the World Bank, the countries that imported the most goods from the European Union in 2018 are the following five countries.

  1. China worth 465,022 million USD
  2. The United States worth 313,541 million USD
  3. The Russian Federation worth 179,625 million USD
  4. Switzerland worth 128,625 million USD
  5. Turkey worth 89,613 million USD

Top 10 Imported Products of the EU

In 2018, the 28 states of the European Union imported products that were worth a whopping $6.393 trillion. Considering the population of 517.1 million. This number means that each person bought around $12,400 worth of international products. Below is a list of 10 products that contributed to the huge number:

Petroleum Products

Energy supplies such as petroleum and crude oil are essential for an orderly functioning of the state and its daily activities. According to EuroStat, in 2018, 58% of the European Union’s energy demands were fulfilled by the imports. This import comes from various developed as well as third world countries.

Where is most petroleum in the EU imported from?

According to data in 2018, two-thirds or approximately 30% of EU’s petroleum and crude oil imports came from Russia. 9% was imported from Iraq. Where countries as Saudi Arabia, Norway, Kazakhstan, and Nigeria, exported 7% petroleum each.

Natural Gas

The European Union imports gas in its natural form from several countries. This natural gas helps insulate our homes and cook our foods. It is also used on an industrial level in factories. Once again, the EU depends mainly on Russia for its natural gas imports.

Where is most natural gas in the EU imported from?

According to data, natural gas reserves imported from Russia mount to three-fourth or around 40% of total natural gas imported to the EU. Followed closely by Norway that contributes 18%, and Algeria at 11%.


A good pharmaceutical export-import is necessary for every country’s economy. After all, these products help us in any ailment. The EU naturally is one of the top importers of pharmaceuticals from all over the world.

Where are most pharmaceuticals in the EU imported from?

According to Statista, from 2010 to 2018, the United States of America and Switzerland have been the biggest exporters of pharmaceuticals to Europe. Other countries like Israel, Singapore, China, Japan, and India followed.

From the years 2015-2017, an average of 41.9% of pharmaceuticals was imported from the United States. Whereas 33.8% were imported from Switzerland. Just recently, in 2018, America contributed to around 37.4% of pharmaceutical imports. Switzerland followed closely at 34.9%.

Medical and Surgical Instruments

Apparatus used to assist in surgery are knows as surgical instruments. They help cut, grasp, and suture a patient. Considering the growing populations, it is necessary to have these supplies in abundance. In data, it was found that the import-export business of surgical instruments reached a big €12.3 billion in 2015. Each instrument that is imported has excellent quality and complies with the rules and regulations set by Medical Devices Directive 93/42/EEC.

Where are most medical and surgical instruments in the EU imported from?

The highest percentage of medical and surgical instruments was imported from the United States of America. From whom in 2015, the EU imported medical supplies worth €2.579 million. After the USA, the Netherlands (€1.763 million) and Belgium (€1.404 million) exported the highest number of medical supplies.


Plenty of metals and ores are required by the EU industries to build and utilise in the industries. Although the European Union has its mining industry, it doesn’t have a significant contribution to meeting the demands.

Where are most metals in the EU imported from?

EU’s bauxite imports mainly come from West Africa, namely Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Platinum is supplied to the EU mainly by the reserves of South Africa. EU copper ore imports are mainly imported from South America, especially Chile and Peru. The EU also imports iron ores and lithium compounds from South America. Tin, on the other hand, is mainly imported from Indonesia.

Accordingly, it emerges from the above details that South America has the most importance in terms of imports of metals. Other countries such as the Philippines with nickel. The United States of America and Bolivia with their zinc. Australia with zinc and titanium. Turkey with magnesium. The Democratic Republic of Congo with cobalt, tin, tantalum and gold. Canada, Norway and India with titanium also supply a marginal amount of metals and gemstones to the European Union.


Shockingly a large number of clothing imports are one of the biggest markets in the EU. Not only does the EU import a lot of textile materials but it also has a flourishing export market. In 2017, the EU exported clothing and textiles worth 129 billion euros.

Where are most clothing/textile materials in the EU imported from?

According to a graph published by Statista, the European Union imported 26.8 billion euros worth of clothing from China only in 2018.

Bangladesh (16,353 million euros). Turkey (9,776 million euros). India (4,887 million euros). Cambodia (3,496 million euros) followed closely behind.


The shoe market in the European Union is at an all-time high. According to reports from World Footwear, the EU in 2016 imported 22,360 euros million worth of footwear from all over the world. From 28 countries that constitute the union, Germany had the highest import value of footwear in 2017.

Where is the most footwear in the EU imported from?

China is the number one country that ships footwear to the EU. According to stats by the Official European Union Website, 50% of the footwear demand in the EU is fulfilled by goods from China. Vietnam follows close behind by importing 14% of total imports.


The EU is one of the biggest importers of fish, seafood, and the aquaculture industry around the world. The rules for import are agreed upon and are the same in all 28 countries of the EU. Portugal amongst these countries consumes the highest number of seafood per capita, according to research.

Where is the most seafood in the EU imported from?

According to the EU Fish Market 2019 Edition, more than a quarter of seafood came from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Another source also sites China, Morocco, and Iceland as the EU’s main suppliers.


The European Union is the biggest importer of coffee. One of the favourite beverages around the world. According to a report, the EU imported 3 million tonnes of coffee. That was worth €6.9 billion from around the world.

Where is the most coffee in the EU imported from?

Most of the coffee that was sold, bought, and drank in the EU in 2016 came from two primary sources. Brazil, from where 915,000 tonnes of coffee was imported. Whereas around 25% or 728,000 tonnes of it was imported from Vietnam.

Colombia (7%), Honduras (6%), India (141,5%), Indonesia, Uganda, Peru (4%), and Ethiopia (3%) also contributed to the huge imports.


Sugar markets are one of the most successful markets all around the world. It’s a commodity that every country requires but can’t produce itself. Northern EU produces large amounts of beet sugar that constitute 50% of beet sugar reserves all around the world. Cane sugar is completely another story, as the EU doesn’t produce it. Hence, the EU is the biggest importer of cane sugars. For this very reason, the EU also allows quota and duty-free access to Least Developed Countries. Which is where more than half of the sugar is imported.

Where is the most sugar in the EU imported from?

The EU imports most sugar from the least developed countries. These imports are mainly into the form of cane sugar and come from African, Caribbean, and Pacific states.

Which EU countries import the most?

The European Union is constituted of 28 states. Each of these states has trading laws that are in sync with each other. According to World Top Exports, the following 10 countries had the highest import budget in 2018:

  1. Germany
  2. United Kingdom (not in the EU anymore)
  3. France
  4. Netherlands
  5. Italy
  6. Belgium
  7. Spain
  8. Poland
  9. Austria
  10. Czech Republic

Germany was on the top of the list with purchases that were worth 1.287 trillion. It also constituted 20.1% of the total EU import percentage. These top 10 countries represented 82.1% of total purchases during 2018. Of course these numbers are measured during ‘normal’ times. When the import and export industry is not influenced by lockdowns due to a pandemic. However, something that doesn’t get influenced easily due pandemics is the online world. Online trading for example keeps on going in times like these, it even increases. Find out which brokers made it to the top 10 cryptocurrency broker list in 2020.

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