The bloc's statistics office said on Friday that the European Union's trade deficit with China grew by over a third last year, as it took in soaring imports from the Asian powerhouse.
Imports from China to the EU increased by more than a fifth last year to 472 billion euros $522 billion compared to 2020, according to Eurostat data. The trade deficit of the country has gone up to 249 billion euro, as a result of the increase in imports from China to the EU.
EU exports to China increased by a comparatively small 10%, a faster rate than in other countries outside the bloc.
The report came as EU and Chinese leaders met for their first summit in two years, where Beijing pressed for assurances that it would not supply Russia with arms nor help Moscow circumvent Western sanctions imposed over its invasion of Ukraine.
After the United States and Britain, China became the EU's largest import partner and third-biggest export destination last year, according to Eurostat.
Telecoms equipment, data processors and electrical kit made up the bulk of the EU imports from China, while it mainly exported cars and car parts into the world's biggest automotive market.
The Netherlands posted the largest deficit at more than 95 billion euros, while Germany-China's top exporter and second-biggest importer in the bloc - recorded the largest surplus.
Eurostat said that the onset of the coronaviruses had slowed EU-China trade in the first months of 2020, though these quickly recovered throughout the epidemic and hit peaks in 2021.