Both imports from and exports to China from the EU28 member countries declined in the first half of 2013, according to just-released Eurostat data. Imports fell slightly more than exports, narrowing Europe’s trade deficit with China.

Imports from China to EU28 countries more than tripled between 2002 and 2012. Exports grew at an even faster pace, quadrupling over the same time period. However, European countries have always imported far more from China than they exported. In 2002 total imports (€90.4 B) from China were almost triple the exports (€35.1 B), whereas in 2012 imports (€291.1 B) exceeded exports (€143.9 B) by only 49 percent.

EU28 exports to China fell from €73 billion in the first half of 2012 to €71 billion. Imports fell from €141 billion to €134 billion during the same time period.

Germany accounted for 45 percent of all EU exports to China and 21 percent of all imports. Germany was also one of only two EU28 countries to have a trade surplus with China, the other being Finland.

Here’s the data in a couple of charts: