China left the US behind as the EU’s first trading partner

China surpassed the United States as the main trading partner of the European Union (EU) in the second quarter of 2021, according to data published this Wednesday by the community statistical office Eurostat.

Between the first quarter of 2019 and the second of 2021, the percentage of imports from China to the EU increased by 4 percentage points.

In the case of Switzerland, the share of imports grew in the same period by 0.7 percentage points while there was a 3.4 percentage point fall in imports from the United Kingdom, followed by those from Russia (which suffered a decrease of 1.1 points) and the United States (with a fall of 1 point).

According to Eurostat, the factors that contributed to this fall were the COVID-19 pandemic and in the case of the United Kingdom, also Brexit.

In the same period, the percentage of European exports to China increased by 1.5 percentage points, while those to the United Kingdom fell 3.2 points.

Exports to Russia, Switzerland and the United States grew less than 0.6 points.

On the other hand, according to Eurostat, the trade surplus of the European Union (EU) decreased in the second quarter, going from 46,000 million euros in the first three months of the year to 29,000 million between April and June.

The value of EU goods exports to third countries was slightly above the level in the first quarter of 2019.

However, the value of imports during the same period showed a stronger recovery.

As a result, the EU’s trade surplus decreased from € 46 billion to € 29 billion.

Chinese market registers rapid expansion

China’s market entities registered rapid growth in recent years, with the total number increasing from 55 million in 2012 to 146 million at the end of July 2021, the State Administration for Market Regulation (AERM) said.

When broken down, the number of companies more than tripled to 46 million, while own-account businesses reached 98 million, about 2.5 times the figure in 2012, Zhang Gong, head of the company, said Monday. AERM, at a press conference.

The official attributed the healthy expansion of market entities to the sustained steady growth of China’s economy and its vast market, the continued optimization of the country’s business environment, and the hard work of entrepreneurs and workers.

The new market entities, most of which are micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, have contributed to employment by creating more than 13 million new jobs annually in recent years, Zhang added.

He also noted that China’s own-account businesses provided around 300 million urban and rural jobs, while all kinds of market entities in the country employed around 300 million migrant workers.

To restore sound market order and promote fair competition, the market regulatory authorities in China have introduced a series of laws and regulations while pursuing behaviors that impede fair competition in areas such as the platform economy, care of health and public services.

Since 2018, the relevant authorities have investigated and dealt with 332 monopoly cases and 36,000 cases involving unfair competition, Zhang said.

In the next stage, AERM will resolutely oppose monopolies and prevent disorderly expansion of capital to create a level playing field for all types of market entities.

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