Agriculture products represent a solid share of 7% of the value of EU total goods exported in 2018, ranking fourth after machinery, other manufactured goods and chemicals. Agriculture and the food related industries and services together provide almost 44 million jobs in the EU. The food production and processing chain accounts for 7.5% of employment and 3.7% of total value added in the EU.
The top five destinations for EU's agri-food products continues to be the United States, China, Switzerland, Japan and Russia, accounting for 40% of EU exports. In addition to negotiating trade agreements that provide further opportunities for EU farmers, the European Commission helps EU exporters to enter new markets and benefit from business possibilities through promotion activities, including high-level missions led by Commissioner Hogan. In 2018 and 2019, Commissioner Hogan accompanied by EU producers travelled to China, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.
Wines and vermouth continued to dominate the basket of exported products and their value raised by 2.4% in comparison to 2017. Spirits and liqueurs ranked second, reporting the highest increase of 5.5% in value amongst all exported agri-food products. They are followed by infant food (+1.9%), and various food preparations (-1.5%). Chocolate (+2.2%), together withpastaand pastry(+5.6%) complete the overview of products with more than EUR 5 billion of exports (4% of total exportvalue). By contrast, compared to 2017, the biggest decreases in value were observed for the exports of pork (-6%), wheat (-11%) as well as milk powders and whey (-11%) due to lower EU production. In the case of pork, the export quantities were slightly higher, but the prices were much lower.
Regarding imports, the report concludes that the EU became the second biggest importer of agri-food products with €116 billion worth of imports. This brings the EU trade balance for this sector to a positive net of €22 billion.
The EU mainly sources three types of products: products that are not, or only to a small extent, produced in the EU such as tropical fruit, coffee and fresh or dried fruits (representing 23.4% of imports in 2018); products that are destined for animal feed (including oilcakes and soybeans – together 10.8% of imports); and products used as ingredients in further processing (such as palm oil).
Imports from the U.S. were the fastest growing in 2018, with an increase of 10%, which makes this country the EU's top supplier of agri-food products.
Friday September 6, 2019/ DG Agri/ European Union.