Notwithstanding their differences, the European countries as a bloc have achieved outsize clout in the global trade sphere.
Over the past seven decades, the European Union has grown from a group of six Western European countries to a bloc of 28 member states spanning the Continent. And in the process, it has become a formidable force in global trade. The bloc, home to roughly 7 percent of the world's population, accounts for around 20 percent of global exports and imports today. The European Union is the largest exporter of manufactured goods and services in the world, the biggest export market for around 80 countries, and the global leader in both inbound and outbound international investment. But when crafting its trade strategy, the bloc must take into the diverging priorities of individual member states, each of which has a distinct history, identity and economic profile....
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