China is now EU's biggest trading partner; overtakes US

In the first seven months of 2020, China surpassed the United States to become the biggest trading partner of the European Union (EU), said Eurostat, the EU's statistics organisation. - Xinhua

BRUSSELS, Oct 5 (Xinhua): In the first seven months of 2020, China surpassed the United States to become the biggest trading partner of the European Union (EU), said Eurostat, the EU's statistics organisation.

While European companies have placed much confidence in the market of China, a country that has been continuously opening up and has become the only major economy projected by the World Bank to achieve positive growth this year, Chinese businesses have voiced their concerns over the overall business environment in the EU affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Therefore, officials and business insiders have called for an open-minded and positive attitude to seek solutions to existing problems between the two sides and to deepen bilateral cooperation in the future.

The EU's imports from China increased by 4.9 per cent year-on-year in the January-July period, noted Eurostat.

According to the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, the largest economy in the EU, China, Germany's biggest trading partner since 2016, surpassed the United States for the first time in the second quarter of this year to become Germany's largest export market, and Germany's exports to China in July have rebounded almost to last year's level.

The stable development of German exports to China in July underlines China's importance for the German economy even facing the COVID-19 pandemic, Katharina Viklenko, China expert at economic development agency Germany Trade and Invest, told Xinhua.

Noting that some one-eighth, or most German imports, came from China in July, Viklenko said the Chinese economy is already on the road to recovery amid the pandemic.

China is on its way to become "export destination country number one" for the German economy as the pandemic is hitting global trade, said a recent study published by the German Economic Institute (IW).

Gao Feng, spokesman of China's Ministry of Commerce, said the rapid development of Sino-German trade has benefited from not only the sound bilateral relations and complementary economic advantages of the two countries, but also China's continuous opening-up.

While the situation in many of Germany's export markets is deteriorating,"the Chinese economy is already looking ahead with cautious optimism," said Galina Kolev, senior economist and head of the Research Group Macroeconomic Analyses and Business Cycles at the IW.

Chinese economic growth, which has remained relatively high by international standards amid the pandemic, has made China an "attractive export market," Kolev said.

Besides, China has also been one of Spain's top trading partners during the pandemic, according to Jorge Valera, director of Strategic Accounts and Rail at the Barcelona branch of transport company DSV.

"Without doubt, China was our biggest partner during the coronavirus pandemic. The majority of supplies, if not 100 percent of them, arrived from China," Valera told Xinhua in an interview.

In the eyes of Tang Zheng, vice president of the European Working Committee of non-governmental organization CEATEC, the signing of the China-EU agreement on geographical indications and the commitment to speeding up the negotiations of the China-EU investment treaty to achieve the goal of concluding the negotiations within 2020, among others, have shown the joint efforts and achievements of both China and the EU in expanding cooperation in trade, economy and investment. - Xinhua

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