146/2004 - 7 December 2004
EU - China Summit
China now second trade partner of EU25
Trade doubled between 1999 and 2003
One of the most significant features of economic relations between the EU and China over recent years has been
the rapid growth of trade. Between 1999 and 2003, EU25 trade with China more than doubled, with exports rising
from 19.6 billion euro to 41.2 bn, and imports growing from 52.4 bn to 105.3 bn. The EU25 deficit in trade with
China rose from 32.8 bn in 1999 to 64.2 bn in 2003. In contrast, over the period 1999-2003, total extra-EU25 trade
grew by just over a quarter.
This rapid growth in trade has been observed, in fact, since the beginning of the 1980s. In 1980, China was the
25th largest destination for EU15 exports, and the 22 nd largest source for EU15 imports. By 1990, China ranked
14th for EU15 exports and sixth for EU15 imports. In 1999, China was the sixth largest destination for EU25
exports, and the fourth largest source for EU25 imports ; by 2003 China had moved into third place for EU25
exports, behind the USA and Switzerland, and was in second place for EU25 imports, behind only the USA.
On the occasion of the European Union - China summit , which will take place on Wednesday 8 December in
Den Haag in the Netherlands, Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities, issues today data
on trade between China and the EU25.
Trade dominated by manufactured goods
EU25 trade with China is very concentrated in manufactured goods. Nearly two thirds of EU25 exports to China
are “Machinery and vehicles1”, and a further 20% are “Other manufactured articles2”, while each of these groups of
products accounts for just under half of EU25 imports from China. At the detailed level, the main EU25 exports to
China were motor cars and aircraft, while the main imports were computers and parts (including monitors and
printers), mobile phones and digital cameras.
In 2003, EU25 exports of machinery and vehicles to China amounted to 26.4 billion euro, and