"\\r\\n<br><div id=\\"RegularArticle-ArticleBody-5\\" data-module=\\"ArticleBody\\" data-test=\\"articleBody-2\\" data-analytics=\\"RegularArticle-articleBody-5-2\\"><span class=\\"HighlightShare-hidden\\" style=\\"top:0;left:0\\"\\\/><div class=\\"InlineImage-imageEmbed hasBkg\\" id=\\"ArticleBody-InlineImage-106840703\\" data-test=\\"InlineImage\\"><div class=\\"InlineImage-wrapper\\"><div><p>The harbour of Le Havre, northwestern France, on January 21, 2021.<\\\/p><p>SAMEER AL-DOUMY | AFP | Getty Images<\\\/p><\\\/div><\\\/div><\\\/div><div class=\\"group\\"><p>LONDON \\u2014 China dethroned the U.S. to become Europe's top trading partner for the first time last year, data from the European statistics office has shown.<\\\/p><p>European Union exports to China grew by 2.2% last year and imports rose by 5.6%. In comparison, exports to the U.S. dropped by 8.2% and imports fell by 13.2%. <a href=\\"https:\\\/\\\/ec.europa.eu\\\/eurostat\\\/documents\\\/portlet_file_entry\\\/2995521\\\/6-15022021-BP-EN.pdf\\\/e8b971dd-7b51-752b-2253-7fdb1786f4d9\\" target=\\"_blank\\" rel=\\"noopener\\">The latest figures<\\\/a>, released by Eurostat on Monday, showed that China now has an even bigger role in how European economies perform.<\\\/p><p>\\"The reason behind it is clearly the fact that China\\\/Asia is the only region going through a nice v-shaped recovery,\\" Carsten Brzeski, economist at ING Germany, told CNBC on Tuesday.<\\\/p><p>The coronavirus pandemic has had a disproportionate economic impact all over the world. In fact, China, where the first Covid-19 cases were reported, has not gone through severe social restrictions for a second time as it has been the case in many European nations.<\\\/p><\\\/div><blockquote data-test=\\"Pullquote\\"><div class=\\"Pullquote-pullquote\\" style=\\"border-top-color:#002f6c\\"><div><p>The current crisis gives us no other option but to work hand in hand with our global partners, including China.<\\\/p><div class=\\"Pullquote-sourceWrapper\\"><p>Valdis Dombrovskis<\\\/p><p>European commissioner for trade<\\\/p><\\\/div><\\\/div><\\\/div><\\\/blockquote><div class=\\"group\\"><p>As a result, the Chinese economy is performing slightly closer to pre-Covid levels in comparison with other parts of the world, where restrictions are still taking a toll on activity. China is expected to register the <a href=\\"https:\\\/\\\/www.imf.org\\\/en\\\/Publications\\\/WEO\\\/Issues\\\/2021\\\/01\\\/26\\\/2021-world-economic-outlook-update\\" target=\\"_blank\\" rel=\\"noopener\\">second-highest growth rate globally<\\\/a> in 2021, according to forecasts from the International Monetary Fund.<\\\/p><p>\\"Looking ahead, the importance China has for European trade is also a clear dilemma,\\" Brzeski said, adding that \\"Europe will have a hard time making choices\\" between trading with China and helping the U.S. on the technology front.<\\\/p><p>The U.S. and EU have clashed with Beijing over 5G and technology transfers \\u2014 when a government asks foreign firms to share their tech in exchange for market access. At the same time, Washington D.C. and Brussels also have concerns over human rights in China.<\\\/p><p>The \\"risk is that compromising and balancing between the two will hamper future growth,\\" Brzeski said.<\\\/p><\\\/div><div class=\\"group\\"><p>However, the European Union seems willing to strengthen economic ties with China. The two reached a new investment agreement in December aimed at making it easier for European firms to operate in Beijing.<\\\/p><p><a href=\\"https:\\\/\\\/www.cnbc.com\\\/2021\\\/01\\\/06\\\/china-eu-trade-deal-what-it-is-and-why-it-might-fail.html\\">The deal<\\\/a>, which seemed to have been rushed through before Joe Biden's inauguration in late January, prohibits China from stopping access or introducing new discriminatory practices on manufacturing and some service sectors.<\\\/p><p>At the time of the announcement, Europe's trade chief, Valdis Dombrovskis said: \\"The current crisis gives us no other option but to work hand in hand with our global partners, including China.\\"<\\\/p><p>\\"By pulling together we can recover more quickly economically, and make progress on areas of mutual interest such as trade and investment relations,\\" he said in a statement.<\\\/p><p>The agreement has yet to be approved by European lawmakers, some of whom are critical of the Chinese government and are reluctant to sign it off.<\\\/p><\\\/div><\\\/div>\\r\\n\\r\\n<br><a href=\\"https:\\\/\\\/www.cnbc.com\\\/2021\\\/02\\\/16\\\/china-overtakes-us-as-europes-main-trade-partner.html\\">Source link <\\\/a>"