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EU's trade in goods returns to near pre-pandemic levels


BRUSSELS -- The trade in goods between the European Union (EU) and the rest of the world saw a surge in March 2021, and the first quarter (Q1) showed signs of recovery to pre-pandemic levels, according to Eurostat, the EU's statistical service.

A Eurostat release on Tuesday showed that the first estimate for extra-EU exports of goods in March 2021 was 195.1 billion euros, up by 10.6 percent compared with March 2020, and the imports stood at 176.3 billion euros, up by 19 percent.

In the first three months, the bloc's exports and imports were estimated at 508.7 billion and 460.7 billion euros respectively, both down by 0.9 percent compared with the same period last year, when Europe was recognized as the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic by the World Health Organization.

China remained the EU's top trade partner in Q1, with imports and exports both increasing by over 20 percent year-on-year. The United States came next, with both imports and exports continuing to shrink.

Britain was the EU's third-largest trade partner after the transition period ended on Dec. 31, 2020, but the fallout of Brexit on the trade in goods was evident, as the EU's exports to and imports from Britain in January-March suffered two-digit drops.