China, the largest exporter of high-tech products for the European Union


The European Union imported, in 2017, EUR 357 billion worth of high-tech products, which represents 19 percent of total EU imports. Overall, the EU had a trade deficit in high-tech products of 61 billion within the top 20 trade partners. The largest deficit was with China, the biggest partner, totaling EUR 82 billion. Within the top 20 partners, the EU had a trade deficit with seven other countries: Vietnam, United States, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, Switzerland, and Japan, and a trade surplus with the remaining twelve: Mexico, Israel, Canada, Singapore, Norway, Brazil, Hong Kong, India, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

The trade deficit by product reveals the deficit is mainly in electronics communications (including smartphones), EUR 65 billion, and computer office machines, EUR 46 billion. In both cases, most of the trade deficit is with China. The product groups with the largest trade surpluses were aerospace (EUR 31 billion), pharmacy (EUR 29 billion) and scientific instruments (EUR 22 billion).

In 2017, the EU imported most of its high-tech products from China (34 percent of total EU imports of these products from outside the EU), the United States (27 percent) and Switzerland (6 percent). The list continues with Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Canada. Out of top 10, seven countries are from Asia.

Regarding exports, the partners are the same, but in a different order. In order, top 10 export markets is US, China, Switzerland, united Arab Emirates, Russia, Japan, Singapore, Turkey, India and Hong Kong. By size, most exports went to the United States (25 percent of total EU exports of these products to outside the EU), followed by China (12 percent) and Switzerland (6 percent).

The exports are important since the overall trade deficit, not limited to top 20 partners, is only EUR 23 billion, the import of smartphones and computers being compensated by pharmacy and aerospace products.


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