Robust trade transactions between China and the European Union (EU) last year have demonstrated strong resilience and enormous potential in bilateral economic partnership despite the ravaging pandemic and a reeling global economy.
According to Eurostat, the EU’s statistical service, China has surpassed the United States and become the EU’s top trading partner last year while both sides have also seen a substantial increase in exports to each other’s marketplaces.
Given the dwindling overall global trade amid the still-raging pandemic, dynamic China-EU trade ties are indeed hard-won.
The continued growth in trade is partially a result of robust cooperation between Beijing and Brussels to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
To beat the deadly pathogen, China and the EU countries have harnessed the power of solidarity by offering each other medical supplies, as well as sharing experience on vaccine development, clinical treatment and cross-border management.
Meanwhile, the brisk two-way trade benefits from the strong economic complementarity between the two sides. This can explain why the China-Europe freight train service has kept running across the Eurasian landmass amid the pandemic.
12,406 China-Europe freight train, up 50 percent from 2019
Last year saw a record 12,406 China-Europe freight train journeys, up 50 percent from 2019. The train trips hit 1,165 in January, up 66 percent year on year.
At this time of coronavirus crisis, this modern-day trans-regional camel fleet has been playing an indispensable role in maintaining momentum for bilateral trade activities and ensuring a stable supply of goods in China, Europe and other countries along the routes.
The rapid recovery of the Chinese economy is also a key reason why many European firms continue to have faith in the Chinese market and expand their investment halfway around the world.
Last year, such European enterprises as BMW, Daimler and Siemens scaled up investment and production capacity in China. In 2020, Airbus delivered 99 commercial aircraft to China, representing 17.5 percent of its annual global deliveries. In the fourth quarter, notably, the China proportion accounted for 25 percent of the European plane-maker’s global deliveries.
China-EU bilateral economic cooperation
The resilient China-EU economic partnership has also offered a glimpse of an even brighter future for bilateral economic cooperation.
In 2020, China and the EU concluded the negotiations on the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment and signed a geographical indications agreement. The two sides also decided to build up partnerships for green and digital cooperation.
Those agreements will in the coming months and years create more business opportunities and help companies of both sides to further tap the potential in each other’s markets.
While fostering a new development paradigm, China will, as has been promised, continue to expand opening-up and level its domestic playing field, creating greater opportunities and more favorable investment environment for all countries worldwide, including the EU members.
The buoyant bilateral trade and economic partnership have once again proved that when the two sides stick to mutually-beneficial cooperation, they will be rewarded handsomely even in days of difficulties.
Looking into the future, as long as Beijing and Brussels continue to hold their hands together, and focus on promoting win-win cooperation in a pragmatic manner, they will reap even greater benefits.