Europe is losing US$27.5 billion a year in China export business due to Beijing's politically driven trade barriers, EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said on Tuesday. The euro zone posted its first annual trade deficit in six years in 2006 because of worsening positions with Japan and China, the South China Morning Post reported. Mandelson argued that, as far as China is concerned, "an important part of the current trade balance is artificial." His words came shortly after China announced a monthly record US$26.9 billion trade surplus for June. China's Ministry of Commerce said on Wednesday that the trade surplus would likely slow in the second half of the year following cuts to export tax rebates. Ministry spokesman Wang Xinpei said the record June surplus was due to exporters rushing to ship goods before the July 1 deadline.