As in the United States, European trade is largely heading east to China. According to data released earlier this month by the European Union’s statistical agency, Eurostat, the 27-nation euro-zone reported strong exports to China.
The EU’s exports to China increased from €37 billion (about US$52 billion) in the first half of 2009 to €53 billion (about $74 billion) in the first half of 2010. A broader view also shows that between 2000 and 2009, EU trade with China tripled in value. Regional exports to China rose steadily from €26 billion (about $36 billion) in 2000 to €82 billion (about $114 billion) in 2009, while imports rose from €75 billion (about $105 billion) in 2000 to a peak of €248 billion in 2008 before falling to €215 billion in 2009.
More than 60 percent of the euro-zone’s exports to China during 2010’s first half were machinery and vehicles, the agency said. And not surprisingly, Chinese imports mainly consisted of computers and parts, and mobile phones.
This increase has been especially good for countries like Germany, which was by far the EU’s largest exporter to China, according to Eurostat. The European powerhouse is already seeing significant improvement in its economy, and its unemployment rate is steadily dropping, according to a recent report in The Economist.
The boost in Euro-China trade is even having a positive impact in places like Barcelona, despite Spain’s overall financial weakness. The region’s port is getting a €500 million infusion from Hutchison Port Holdings, a giant Hong Kong-based port investor, developer, and operator, as reported in city government documents. China is the destination or origin of about 25 percent of all the cargo containers moving through the city’s port, according to reports.
What does this mean for electronics companies operating in the region? Generally, the EU’s economic situation is still tenuous, and largely depends on where you are. Ireland, once a booming IT hub, has a troubling banking situation. And, many other nations are confronting high unemployment rates and slow GDP growth.
On the other hand, electronics production in Central and Eastern Europe, which now stands at approximately $85 billion, is expected to grow to $100 billion as contract manufacturers and components companies expand their regional presence, according to a report published this month by Technology Forecasters Inc.
How is your company faring in Europe, and what do you see on the horizon?