China Replaces U.S. as EU's Largest Trading Partner

Credit: Unsplash

By Huixia Sun

BEIJING, February 16 (TMTPOST) – China overtook the United States to become the European Union's biggest trading partner in 2020, according to a news release posted on the website of EU statistics agency Eurostat on Monday. 

China’s trade with the EU expanded to 586 bn euros last year, dwarfing the U.S-EU. trade of 555 bn euros and replacing the world’s largest economy as the EU’s biggest trading partner, according to Eurostat.

The EU-China trade figure in 2020 represented a 4.4% year-over-year increase from 561.2 bn euros in 2019. Last year, China’s exports to the European bloc jumped 5.6% from 363 bn euros in 2019 to hit 383.5 bn euros. At the same time, China’s imports from the EU reached 202.5 bn euros, representing a 2.2% increase from 198.2 bn euros in 2019.

The EU’s trade deficit with China widened about 9.9% to 181.0 bn euros in 2020 from 164.7 bn euros in 2019, according to Eurostat.

By contrast, the world’s largest economy posted a sharp decline in the transatlantic trade. The bilateral trade dropped about 10% to 555 bn euros in 2020 from 617 bn euros in 2019.  

U.S. exports to the EU fell by 13.2% year-over-year to 202 bn euros in 2020 while U.S. imports from the EU declined 8.2% to 353 bn euros. The EU’s trade surplus with the world’s largest economy shrank slightly to 150.9 bn euros in 2020 from 151.8 bn euros in 2019.

Britain, which is no longer a member of the European Union, was the third largest trading partner for the bloc, behind China and the United States, the agency said.

The euro area consists of 19 members, namely Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia and Finland.

The European Union is comprised of 27 members, namely Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden. As of February 1, 2020, Britain is no longer part of the European Union.

(One euro equalled 1.21 US dollars as of Feb. 16, 2021.)