China became European Union’s largest trading partner leaving the United States behind in 2020. The covid-19 pandemic has reduced trade between Europe’s key partners. However, China managed to avoid these negative impacts.
Last year, trade between China and the European Union was $709 billion, whereas the US made a trade of $671 billion in 2020.
Despite the drop in China’s economy in the first quarter due to the pandemic, demand for goods from the European Union increased at the end of the year after the economic situation improved.
China was the only country in the major global economies to see economic growth in the midst of pandemic which resulted in increased demand for European cars and luxury goods. Meanwhile, strong exports of medical and electronic devices also benefited China’s exports to Europe.
According to European Union’s statistics office, the Eurostat, China was a key EU partner in 2020 which was attributed to an additional 5.6 percent increase in imports and a further 2.2 percent increase in exports.
The EU figures are similar to the official figures released by China in January. According to China, trade with the European Union increased by 5.3% in 2020 at $696 billion. The European Union’s trade deficit with China has also increased from $199 billion to $219 billion.
Although the United States and the United Kingdom are still the EU’s largest export markets, the statistics show that there has been a sharp decline in trade between the two countries.
Eurostat says that trade with the United States has fallen sharply, to 13.2% in both imports and 8.2% in exports.
Trade between the two countries has been hampered by a series of disputes, which have led to the imposition of duties or taxes on American Harley-Davidson motorcycles in addition to steel and French Cognac.
In 2020, US trade with the European Union was $671 billion, which was $746 billion a year ago. It is unclear whether the new US president, Joe Biden, will reconsider his country’s stance on trade with Europe.
In the meantime, the EU and China are trying to strengthen their economic ties. To that end, the two sides are trying to reach an investment agreement that will make it easier for European companies to access the Chinese market.