The EU is Malawi’s largest world-trading partner for exports, and the second largest for imports. Malawi’s participation in EU trade remains limited, however, and represents only 0.01 per cent of total EU trade.
By the end of 2008 Malawi had a trade-balance deficit of US$156 million in world trade. EU exports to Malawi totalled €103 million in 2007, while its imports from Malawi made up €206 million, resulting in a negative trade balance of €103 million. During the last four-year period, however, Malawi's exports in world trade have increased by 105 per cent, while imports have risen by almost 40 per cent, thus lowering the country's trade-balance deficit from 26.7 to 15.7 per cent of GDP during the period 2005–2009.
Malawi's exports to the EU consist mainly of tobacco (77 per cent), sugar (14 per cent) and tea (5 per cent). Malawi's main EU-imports are chemicals and machinery (28 and 21 per cent, respectively). This follows the standard pattern of trade between the EU and ACP States, where the latter's exports are predominantly centred on a few raw materials, while EU exports come mainly from the industrial sector.
EU imports from Malawi end up mostly in Germany (36 per cent), the Netherlands (13.5 per cent) and the United Kingdom (10.6 per cent). Conversely, the EU's main exporters to Malawi are the United Kingdom (19.8 per cent), Germany (18.9 per cent) and France (12.2 per cent).