The surplus was also a dramatic jump from February, when the surplus amounted to $13 billion, said Eurostat, the data agency for the European Commission.
Exports rose 2.8 percent from February, while imports fell by 1 percent, Eurostat said.
Eurostat keeps two sets of data, one for the 17-member eurozone, which shares the euro as currency and one for the 27-member European Union.
The EU in March notched a trade surplus of $20.4 billion after running a $10.5 billion deficit in March 2012.
The EU surplus also climbed from February, which posted a surplus of $2.1 billion.