China becomes EU's largest import source in 2006

Updated: 2007-03-24 14:39

China replaced the United States as the number one source of the European Union (EU) imports last year, according to official statistics carried in Financial Times on Friday.

According to Eurostat, the EU's statistical office, EU's imports from China rose by 21 percent to 1,916 billion euros last year, while those from the United States rose by 8 percent to 176.2 billion euros.

EU's export to China also witnessed a strong growth last year, rising by 23 percent to 63.3 billion euros.

The rising importance of trade links between China and EU was interpreted by experts as a good reason for the EU to grow despite the threat of US slowdown, the newspaper said.

The latest trade figures suggested that the strengthening euro had yet to cause significant damage to exports from the eurozone, as Germany's economic recovery was initially powered by exports and the euro rise has sounded alarm bells to export competitiveness in France.

For the eurozone, imports from China overtook those from the United States by the middle of last year, but most of the imports from China were those of lower valued-added parts of chainlike equipment and textiles, experts said.

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