In 2013, EU agricultural exports reached €120 billion in 2013, allowing the EU to become the world's number one exporter of agricultural and food products. While the EU is a renowned exporter of high value added final products, in 2013 the export growth can largely be attributed to commodities, with booming cereals (wheat and barley) exports to Middle East-North African countries alone accounting for over two thirds of the total export gain.
In absolute value, EU total agri-food exports increased the most to China, which, together with Saudi Arabia continued to be the fastest-growing exports markets for the EU. On the other hand, EU sales to its top partner, the US, showed only a modest growth, but imports (of animal feed particularly) from the US increased sharply.
Milk and cereal preparations exports were valued at €8.7 billion (+12.5%). Other top exported product categories included wheat, non-specific food preparations, ice-cream, chocolate and confectionery, pig meat, cheese, fruit and vegetable preparations and tobacco products.
In relation to pig meat sector:
- Exports to Russia: the biggest absolute export gains in 2013 were recorded for pig meat (+€194 million, or +25%) and cheese (+€75 million, or +8.3%). The sales of pig meat to Russia, which had declined in 2012, showed a 19% increase to 370 000 t in 2013. On the other hand, animal products were also among the top losers. Exports of live animals, also influenced by a ban put in place by Russia for sanitary reasons, were cut by half (-€75 million) compared to 2012. Pig and poultry fat, which in 2012 sold for €315 million in Russia, saw a setback of 16%. Pig and beef offal exports declined by 20% (-€40 million).
- Pig meat exports to China increased further by 24% (+€106 million).
- Over the years, Japan has been a major market for EU prime pig meat cuts. In 2013, pig meat accounted for a 17% share in EU food exports to Japan. Although pig meat exports were slightly up to €865 million in 2013, they remained 13% lower than in 2004, the record year of EU pig meat exports to Japan.
- US pig meat exports suffered (-11%) in 2013, as the livestock sector has struggled to remain competitive at the high feed cost.
June 2014/ DG-Agriculture and Rural Development/ European Union.