Despite the continuing covid-19 crisis, EU agri-food trade remained strong during the first seven months of 2020. EU27 exports for January-July 2020 reached a total value of €105.5 billion (an increase of 2.1% compared to the same period in 2019), while EU27 imports attained a value of €72.6 billion (an increase of 1.7%). As a result, for the first seven months of 2020, the agri-food export surplus stood at €32.9 billion, an increase of 3% compared to the corresponding period in 2019. These are amongst the main findings published today by the European Commission in the monthly trade report for January-July 2020.
China continued to be the largest destination of growth for EU agri-food exports. Increased sales of pig meat (whose export value to China tripled during this period), wheat, offal meat, and infant food propelled a growth of €2.55 billion compared to the same period last year. EU exports, such as barley and wheat, also performed strongly in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, most prominently in Saudi Arabia (where the value of exports grew by €562 million), Morocco (a growth of €368 million), and Algeria (an increase of €337 million). The value of EU agri-food exports also rose in Switzerland (up by €365 million) and Ukraine (up €275 million).
A decrease of €452 million was recorded in the value of EU exports to the USA, led by spirits and wine, fruit juices, and cheese, while the value of agri-food imports dropped by €451 million, mainly due to a fall in the EU’s intake of US soya beans.
The value of agri-food imports from the UK fell by €927 million. Spirits and liqueurs, pasta and pastry, and chocolate and confectionary were amongst the main product categories that experienced declines. The value of EU27 exports to the United Kingdom declined by €359 million, with notable falls in the export of wine, poultry meat, butter, fruit and vegetable preparations, and live animals.
Difficulties in agri-food trade were also recorded in relation to Hong Kong and Singapore, where the value of EU agri-food exports fell by €288 million and €284 million respectively. Falls in the value of EU imports were recorded in relation to products from Ukraine (down by €457 million) and India (down €253 million).
High imports of rape and colza beans, wheat, and soya beans led to a growth of €590 million in import values from Canada, while increases in the intake of palm oil resulted in a rise in import values from Indonesia (€622 million) and Malaysia (€352 million). Increases were also recorded in the value of imports from Brazil (where soya beans propelled a growth of €519 million) and Turkey (a jump of €404 million, led by nuts and citrus fruits).
A number of EU agri-food products performed exceptionally well during this period. The strongest growths in export values were recorded in the cases of pig meat (up €1.8 billion) and wheat (up by €1.6 billion), followed by coarse grains (up by €454 million) and rapeseed and sunflower oils (up €325 million). However, significant falls recorded in the export of alcoholic drinks: the export value of EU wine fell by €1.16 billion, while spirits and liqueurs dropped by €1.11 billion. Other product categories that experienced difficulties were raw hides and skins (whose export value fell by €650 million) and cotton (whose value dropped by €308 million).
Growths in EU agri-food imports were driven by fresh and dried tropical fruit (up €767 million), oilseeds other than soybeans (a growth of €539 million, mainly rapeseed and sunflower seeds) and palm and palm kernel oil (€523 million). Declines, however, were recorded in the import of coarse grains (€850 million), spirits and liqueurs (€349 million) and oilcakes (€420 million), and bovine meat (€267 million).
EU27: Trade of Agri-food products