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The United States is expected to overtake the European Union as China's largest trading partner this year, a former vice-minister of commerce said.

Sino-US trade will continue to boom in the second half of this year, "with China's imports from the US growing faster than its exports". Therefore, the US trade deficit with China will decline, Wei Jianguo told China Daily in an interview.

Part of the reason why US would surpass the EU, which was China's top trading partner almost for the past decade, Wei said, lies in the ever-strengthening Sino-US economic and trade ties.

In April, China and the US agreed to initiate a cooperation plan to address trade imbalance. Under the plan, China will resume US beef imports, and allow rice imports for the first time.

Between January and June, Sino-US trade amount reached 1.85 trillion yuan ($275 billion), up 21.3 percent from last year, according to the General Administration of Customs. The growth rate is higher than that between China and the European Union members, which stood at 17.4 percent in the same period. Sino-EU trade was 1.97 trillion yuan.

"With such growth rate, it won't take long this year for China's total trade volume with the US to exceed that with the EU members", said Wei, also vice-president of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

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