EU goods trade gaps with U.S. and China widen

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union’s trade surplus in goods with the United States and its deficit with China both increased in the first five months of 2019, figures that could add extra strain to global tensions.

FILE PHOTO: A worker adjusts European Union and U.S. flags at the start of the 2nd round of EU-US trade negotiations for Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels November 11, 2013. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

The European Union’s surplus with the United States grew to 62.1 billion euros ($69.8 billion) in Jan-May 2019 from 55.4 billion euros in the same period of 2018, EU statistics office Eurostat reported on Tuesday.

With China, the EU’s trade deficit expanded to 76.7 billion from 69.2 billion euros.

The United States has hit the European Union with tariffs and threatened more in complaint over the trade balance. Both Washington and Brussels have also complained that China wants free trade without playing fair.

Overall, the goods trade deficit of the 28-nation bloc widened to 14.2 billion euros in Jan-May 2019 from 9.9 billion a year earlier.

Energy imports, notably from Russia and Norway, were the chief cause of the deficit.

For the narrower 19-country euro zone, exports grew by 7.1% year-on-year in May and imports by 4.2%, leading to a widening of its trade surplus to 23.0 billion euros in May from 16.9 billion a year earlier.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the euro zone’s trade surplus also increased to 20.2 billion euros in May from 15.7 billion in April as exports rose by 1.4% month-on-month and imports declined by 1.0%.

For Eurostat release, click on:


Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; editing by Francesco Guarascio