What will happen to trade relations between China and the European Union (EU) in the next few years?
China’s rise to preeminence in world trade has been a source of economic growth for both China and Europe in the past decade. Today, the China-Europe trade relationship is “too big to fail”. The EU is China’s biggest trading partner, and China is the second biggest trading partner for the EU. It is also one of the most important bilateral trade relations in the world. Two-way trade is more than four times bigger today than in 2001 when China joined the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Bilateral trade recovered quickly from the sharp drop in 2008-9 amid the West’s financial crisis and hit a record last year. Trade growth is now weighed down by falling demand in Europe, but total trade is still forecasted to edge close to 500 billion euro in 2012.