China overtakes US as EU’s biggest trading partner

China overtakes US as EU's biggest trading partner
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Daily US Times: China is now the European Union’s biggest trading partner, overtaking the US in 2020.

China bucked a wider trend, as trade with most of the continent’s major partners dipped due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Trade between China and the EU was worth $709bn last year, compared with $671bn worth of imports and exports from the US.

Although China’s economy cratered in the first quarter due to the coronavirus pandemic, its economic recovery later in the year fuelled demand for EU goods.

China was the only major global economy to see growth in 2020, stoking demand for European luxury goods and cars.

Meanwhile, China’s exports to Europe benefited from strong demand for electronics and medical equipment. China becomes EU’s biggest trading partner in a time when it faces severe trade disputes with the US.

According to Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office: “In the year 2020, China was the main partner for the EU. This result was due to an increase of imports (+5.6%) and exports (+2.2%).”

The figures were similar to China’s official data published in January, which showed trade with the European Union grew by 5.3% to $696.4bn in 2020.

According to Eurostat figures released on Monday, the EU’s trade deficit with China also grew from $199bn to $219bn.

Although the UK and the US remain the EU’s largest export markets, trade with both countries dropped significantly, the statistics showed.

The data agency said: “Trade with the United States recorded a significant drop in both imports (-13.2%) and exports (-8.2%).”

Transatlantic trade has been hit by a series of tit-for-tat disputes that have resulted in tariffs on steel and products such as American Harley-Davidson motorcycles or French Cognac.

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