The trade volume between China and European Union is expected to top US$200 billion in 2005, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said yesterday.
Bilateral trade in the first 11 months of 2005 reached US$196.78 billion, about 15.3 percent of China's total foreign trade, a year-on-year growth of 23.6 percent, said the ministry, citing statistics from China Customs.
European Union maintained China's largest trade partner in 2005 and China was European Union's second largest trade partner.
The ministry said that in 2005 China exported more high-tech products to the European market than before, and European Union took the place of the United States to become China's top exporting market for mechanical and electronic products.
Soaring trade also stimulated investment and technology introduction. The ministry said European Union has been China's largest technology supplier and the fourth largest investor in China.
Statistics from the ministry show that by the end of October 2005, China had introduced 20,925 technologies, with a contracted value totaling US$87.1 billion.
At that time, European companies set up 22,076 businesses in China, bringing the contracted investment volume to US$84.7 billion, with actual investment hitting US$46.7 billion.
The high-tech sector, including the maglev trains, Air Bus planes and nuclear power stations, have been the key fields attracting European investment, said the ministry.
Besides expanding business in China's rich coastal areas, European companies also cast their eyes on China's western part and the old industrial base in northeast China.
The ministry said more European companies are moving their plants and research centers to the above areas, which are noted for their abundant labor force and more European investment has also been used in those areas in recent years.
The ministry said a medium- and long-term plan for Sino-European trade is being drafted, and bilateral trade volume is expected to hit US$300 billion in the near future.
The ministry will take further steps to boost trade with European Union countries in the coming years and at the same time encourage Chinese companies to make investment in Europe.
(Xinhua News Agency January 7, 2006)