China blames trade surplus with EU on bloc’s trade restrictions

China blames trade surplus with EU on bloc’s trade restrictions

'China has never deliberately sought a trade surplus,' says Foreign Ministry spokesperson

By Necva Tastan

ISTANBUL (AA) - China said Tuesday that it has recorded a trade surplus with the European Union due to the bloc’s restrictions on exports of high-tech products to the country in recent years.

The remarks by a Foreign Ministry spokesperson came after a reporter asked whether Brussels would press Beijing to reduce barriers to European exports at a high-level meeting in September.

"China has never deliberately sought a trade surplus with the EU," said the spokesperson.

The spokesperson said that for years, the majority of EU companies in China have benefited hugely from China-EU trade, which is the fundamental reason why they have chosen to operate and expand business in China.

"If the EU truly wants to address this issue, it needs to lift export controls against China, rather than putting the blame on China,” the spokesperson added.

In 2022, China was the EU's second-largest trading partner after the US.

According to Eurostat data, the trade volume last year between the EU and China reached €856.3 billion ($938 billion), accounting for about 15.3% of the EU's total trade for that year.

The EU’s imports from China totaled €626.3 billion in 2022, while the bloc’s exports to China totaled €230.3 billion, Eurostat said.

The EU is currently experiencing a trade deficit with China.

The US-China trade war, which began five years ago, dragged in other allies including the EU, causing huge trade imbalances.

In 2018-19, then-US President Donald Trump set tariffs and other trade barriers on China. Beijing responded with retaliatory measures.

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