Data from China's Ministry of Commerce showed an expanded European Union on the verge of displacing Hong Kong as China's biggest investment and trading partner.
Sino-EU trade volume has been growing at over 30% a year, topping US$111.64 billion in the first eight months of this year – up 36.6% over the same period a year earlier.
China exported goods worth US$65.47 billion during the period, and imported goods worth US$46.17 billion, official data showed.
China's exports included machinery, electronics and high-tech products, textiles, garments, toys and shoes; imports included capital equipment, auto parts, steel and aircraft. China's trade with the EU will have been given a further boost with the October state visit by French President Jacques Chirac. Chirac's tour saw the signing of a raft of business deals topping over US$5 billion.
Among the most prominent were an order for trains from engineering giant Alstom and another order for 26 Airbus planes.
At the same time as the contract was announced, Airbus said it would be increasing its procurement of key aircraft parts from Chinese suppliers.