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Brussels, 30 January 2009

EU-China trade in facts and figures

China is now the second biggest national exporter in the global economy after Germany and ahead of the US. China now accounts for about 9% of world trade in goods. More than half of China's exports are currently capitalised by foreign companies. Most of this capitalisation comes from neighbouring Asian companies in Japan and South Korea. 8% of it is European

China is Europe's fastest growing export market. Europe exported € 72 billion worth of goods to China in 2007 and this figure went up about 12% over the first 9 months of 2008 compared to the same period in 2007. Exports from the EU to China grew by 75% between 2003 and 2007. Although a large consumer market is developing in China, the EU still exports more to the 7.5 million people who live in Switzerland than the 1.3 billion people who live in China.

Europe runs a surplus on trade in services with China - € 3,9 billion in 2007 (up from 1,4 billion in 2006). This is 60 times smaller than its trade deficit for goods.

Europe's imports from China have grown by around 21% per year for the last five years, although this growth rate declined over the first 9 months of 2008. In 2007, the EU imported €232 billion worth of goods from China. China is Europe's biggest source of manufactured imports. Two decades ago China and Europe traded almost nothing.

Barriers to trade in China are estimated to cost EU businesses €21 billion in lost trade opportunities every year. That is the equivalent of the total imports of New Zealand, or the total GDP of Bulgaria. It is one-fourth of current EU exports to China.

China say that they been the victim of IPR violations. Counterfeiting rates of European manufacturers were reported to be around 5-10% of turnover in China.

Europe's trade deficit in 2007 it was €160 billion euros. The trade deficit is focussed in office and telecom equipment, textiles and iron and steel. The trade deficit reflects a huge shift within the economies of Asia to focus production in China. Although imports from China have surged, Asia's share of total EU imports has increased only very moderately by 10% over the last decade. But the deficit still reflects the considerable problems EU businesses have accessing the Chinese market.

China is the biggest target of trade defence investigations in the EU. The EU currently has 49 anti-dumping measures in force against Chinese imports. These cover less than 2% of Chinese trade.

European companies invested € 7,1 billion in China in 2007 (up from € 6,7 billion in 2006). China invested € 0,6 billion in 2007 (down from 2.2 billion in Europe in 2006.

European services companies find it very difficult to break into the Chinese market and are often discriminated against. Although China has signed agreements to open its market, since 2001 it has granted 22000 telecoms licenses in China and only 12 have gone to foreign companies. China maintains investment and ownership caps in many sectors such as banking, construction and telecommunications. Foreign law firms in China are not allowed to employ Chinese lawyers and are not permitted to participate in bar exams to gain Chinese qualifications.

All figures: European Commission. Updated January 2009

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