China led the trade boom between Asian countries and the European Union (EU) over the last seven years, the EU's statistics bureau Eurostat announced Monday, four days ahead of an Asia-Europe summit in Beijing.
Between 2000 and 2007, EU's trade with the 16 Asian countries taking part in the regular dialogue mechanism with it, or the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), grew by around 60 percent.
In the past seven years, EU exports to these countries rose from 146 billion euros (US$197 billion ) to 228 billion euros (US$308 billion), while imports increased from 285 billion euros (US$385 billion) to 459 billion euros (US$619 billion).
The Asian countries accounted for more than a quarter of the EU's total external trade in goods in 2007. However, their trade with EU showed very different patterns between 2000 and 2007.
The EU's trade with China trebled in value over this period, while trade with Japan actually fell in value. Significant increase was also recorded in the bloc's trade with India and Vietnam, with both more than doubling in value.
Among the 16 Asian countries, China was not only the leading destination for EU exports in 2007, accounting for 31 percent of the total, but also the leading source of EU imports, according to Eurostat.
Half of EU's exports to these nations in 2007 consisted of machinery and vehicles, and a further quarter were other manufactured articles. These two groups of products accounted for half and more than a third respectively of imports.
The main EU exports to the Asian countries were aircraft, unworked diamonds, electronic circuits, motor cars and medicine, while the main imports were computers and parts, mobile phones, motor cars and digital cameras.
Germany was by far the largest exporter to and importer from the Asian countries among the 27 EU member states, the bureau said.
Eurostat released the figures on the occasion of the seventh Asia-Europe Summit, due to take place from Oct. 24-25 in the Chinese capital of Beijing.
(Xinhua News Agency October 21, 2008)