July 15, 2016

EU currently world number one for agri-food exports


EU confirms its number one position as agri-food exporter worldwide.


Agri-food exports reached EUR129 billion (US$143.6 billion) in 2015, more than 7 % of all goods exported from the EU, and an annual increase of 5.7%. The uptrend puts the bloc at the top position of exporters worldwide with a net trade surplus of EUR16 billion (US$18 billion).


The entire output of the EU's agricultural sector was valued at EUR410 billion (US$456.4 billion) last year. Agriculture and the food and drink industry together employ millions of people, accounting for 7.5 % of employment and 3.7 % of total value added in the EU, according to the report published on 2015's agri-food trade.


Although some member states and sectors still suffered from the Russian ban and low world market prices, the overall EU agricultural trade performance was positive in 2015.


"Our trade performance continues to be a real good news story for the EU agri-food sector," Phil Hogan, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said. "Our high production standards and commitment to quality food and drink products ensure continuing global demand. We have directed significant resources towards making the most of these opportunities, including an increased global promotion budget, and a number of new and exciting trade opportunities. In the coming months, I hope to see further export growth for Europe's farmers and agri-food businesses, and the Commission will support them every step of the way. Every EUR100,000 (US$111,300) of exports supports one rural job on average so the EU's good agri-food export performance is good for jobs and growth in rural areas."


Diversification of exports has been the key word for this performance. Besides finding new markets, ties with existing partners have been strengthened, as around half of the total gain in exports came from increased trade with China.


Currently, the top five destinations for EU28 agri-food exports are the US, China, Switzerland, Russia and Japan. Several sanitary and phyto-sanitary barriers were lifted in 2015 and export opportunities also increased because of agreements on geographical indications for EU quality products with among others, Morocco. The ranking of the top world agri-food exporters remained unchanged in 2015, after the EU took over the leading position from the US in 2013.


Agricultural products represent more than 7 % of all goods exported from the EU. The wide range of products from all parts of the value chain which demonstrates the versatility of the sector. Among the agricultural feed and food products, the exports feature in particular wines, cereals, meat, olive oil and dairy products, and one third of the export value is generated by beverages and products of the food industry such as pasta, infant food and other processed products.


The largest export gains were achieved for products which already represent a high share in agri-food exports, such as spirits and wine. The highest export value was recorded for milk powders. Dairy products and fruit and vegetables were the sectors most severely affected by the Russian ban. The lower export value of dairy products was also caused by lower prices.


EU imports, on the other hand, are more dominated by agricultural food and feed products, which represent about 80 % of all imports. In addition, due to higher growth in exports, the EU turned to be a net exporter as from 2010.


- European Commission Spokepersons' Service

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