CEPII, Recherche et Expertise sur l'economie mondiale
EU trade flows and the pandemic: a problem of dependency rather than vulnerability

Cecilia Bellora
Clémence Bois
Sébastien Jean

Trade in sectors most dependent on global value chains has not shown any particular vulnerability during the pandemic. In fact, these sectors have been even more resilient, which is in contrast to what happened during the global financial crisis. More generally, the European Union’s foreign trade as a whole has not been characterized by vulnerability. It fell twice as much as the rest of the economy in the second quarter of 2020, but four times as much during the financial crisis. The fact that services are the most affected this time explains why trade was more resilient. At the same time, exchanges of gloves, masks and other personal protective equipment highlighted the tensions arising from interdependence: export restrictions imposed by the European Union have successfully restored trade within the European single market, but only at the expense of third countries. Yet the European Union is highly dependent on imports of these goods.

 Data source:   let412-413_EN.xlsx

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La Lettre du CEPII
N° 412   November 2020

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 Fields of expertise

Trade & Globalization