China is both a challenge and an opportunity for the EU. Its economic development coupled with its immense population of 1.3 billion and manufacturing capacity inevitably poses very serious challenges to the EU. At the same time, China?s thirst for new technology, its increasing purchasing power, emerging domestic market and growing middle class, also create huge opportunities for the EU?s export business, tourism and education. The EU is now China's biggest trading partner, as China currently ranks as the EU's 2nd overall trading partner behind the USA and its biggest supplier. It is therefore not surprising that the European Union recognises China as one of its most important strategic partners on the world stage, and their bilateral relations are rapidly becoming one of the key elements of the EU?s external affairs and its efforts to bolster a multilateral global system.