The EU is China's largest trading partner, and China is the bloc's second largest trading partner behind the United States. Data released by the Chinese Customs shows that bilateral trade reached a new high last year, total volume hit over 680 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of more than 10 percent over the previous year.
During the same period, EU investment in China reached over 10 billion U.S. dollars, surging nearly 26 percent. China's direct investment in the EU was about eight billion U.S. dollars, an increase of more than seven percent.
The bloc is one of China's major sources of foreign investment as well as its second largest investment destination. According to the European Commission, on average, trade between the two sides reaches one billion euros per day. The bloc's main imports from China are industrial and consumer goods, machinery and equipment, as well as apparel. And China imports more machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, aircraft, and chemicals from the region.
China and the EU are in talks over an investment agreement. The aim is to provide investors on both sides with predictable, long-term access to each other's markets, and also to protect their investments. Chinese President Xi Jinping made his first foreign visits this year to Italy, Monaco and France. During the trip, he urged both sides to accelerate the negotiations.