Asia and Europe are now each other’s leading trade partners, with $1.5 trillion in merchandise trade , overtaking their respective trade relationships with the United States, according to a study produced at the initiative of the European Union, as the World Economic Forum (WEF) reported.  As the WEF explains, mutual cross-regional connectivity between institutions and people have been made a priority, leading to the growth of the trade relationship.

The bilateral economic relationship between China and Germany represents 25% of overall Asia-Europe trade.  Almost one third of European goods shipped to Asia come from Germany ($202 billion), with China the leading purchaser.  And Chinese exports to Europe go primarily to Germany, the Netherlands and the UK ($178 billion).

Institutionally, relationships are deepening as 2019 has seen a new EU-Japan free trade agreement and the London Stock Exchange was host to a recent bond issue by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Between 2015-2017, foreign direct investment between Europe and Asia was nearly $90 billion annually.  With half of European investment in Asia coming from Germany and the UK (over $32 billion).  Notably, the UK invests twice as much in Asia than Europe, with India its’ largest recipient.  While China and Japan are the main Asian investors in Europe ($12 billion)

China is the world’s fastest growing professional services market

Of particular importance to law firm’s operating in Asia and Europe is a new report by Research and Markets which reflects an acceleration of global professional services growth attendant to factors including economic growth between regions.  The world’s professional services market reached a value of nearly $5,700.2 billion in 2018, having grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.4% since 2014. These markets are expected to grow 9.1% to nearly $8,082.4 billion by 2022.

Western Europe and the Asia-Pacific region follow the United States are the largest professional services markets in the world, with South America and Asia-Pacific being the fastest growing regions, accounting for 16.4% and 12.4% of that growth, respectively. China’s professional services market is projected to gain the most of any nation — at $423.6 billion by 2022. Notably too, UK Chancellor Philip Hammond recently outlined the importance of UK legal services to the growth and development of China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.

Posted by John Grimley

John Grimley edits and publishes Asia Law Portal. A writer, editor & consultant to international businesses and organizations, he's the author of: A Comprehensive Guide to the Asia-Pacific Legal Markets (Ark Group, 2014).

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