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China on the globe. Photo: Chuttersnap
Brussels

China overtakes US to become EU’s biggest trading partner

Eurostat announced that imports from China increased by 4,9 percent year-on-year in the January-July period, surpassing the United States. China is currently the biggest trading partner of the European Union (EU).

Published: October 15, 2020, 10:49 am

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    In the first seven months of 2020, China overtook the US, according to Eurostat, the EU’s statistics organisation.

    China is the only major economy projected by the World Bank to achieve positive growth this year. Germany’s exports to China in July have therefore rebounded almost to last year’s level, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

    According to the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, the largest economy in the EU, China has been Germany’s biggest trading partner since 2016. But the Middle Kingdom surpassed the United States for the first time in the second quarter of this year to become Germany’s largest export market,

    The stable development of German exports to China in July underlines China’s importance for the German economy, said Katharina Viklenko, China expert at economic development agency Germany Trade and Invest.

    At least one-eighth, or most German imports, came from China in July, Viklenko told Xinhua.

    China is on its way to become “export destination country number one” for the German economy, according to a recent study published by the German Economic Institute (IW). In many of Germany’s export markets, trade has been harshly affected by die Covid-19 pandemic while “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.

    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. “The majority of supplies, if not 100 percent of them, arrived from China,” Valera told Xinhua.

    NATO clearly hopes to stop this development. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has warned that Beijing’s missiles could reach Europe. “One thing is clear: China is coming ever closer to Europe’s doorstep,” he said. “NATO allies must face this challenge together.”

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said recently that countries needed to resist an increasingly assertive China. Pompeo has been pushing certain countries to take the US side in a confrontation with China.

    Washington thus wants to “formalize” military ties with Japan, India and Australia in a forum known as “the Quad” or Quadrilateral Security Dialogue to counter China. “As partners in this Quad, it is more critical now than ever that we collaborate to protect our people and partners from the CCP’s exploitation, corruption and coercion,” Pompeo said.

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