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Agriculture and rural development
News article27 March 2020Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development

2019: a record year for EU agri-food trade

2019 proved to be a record year for EU agri-food trade. The export value of agri-food products came to a total of €151.2 billion (rising by 10% from December 2018), while imports accounted for €119.3 billion (an increase of 2.5% compared to 2018), bringing the overall value of trade for the year to €270.5 billion. The trade surplus grew by €10.9 billion from 2018 (an increase of 52%) to reach an all-time high of €31.9 billion. These findings, as well as other significant trends and developments for 2019, are contained in the EU agri-food trade report for 2019, published today by the European Commission.

The major destinations for EU agri-food products in 2019 were the USA (who received €24.3 billion worth of agri-food exports), China (€15.3 billion), Switzerland (€8.5 billion), Japan (€7.6 billion) and Russia (€7.2 billion). Together, these five countries received over 40% of the EU’s agri-food exports.

In 2019, the EU expanded its market for agri-food products in China (where the value of exports grew by €4.2 billion), the USA (a rise of €2.07 billion) and Japan (up €1.01 billion). There was, however, a fall in the value of exports to Hong Kong (a drop of €400 million), Libya (a decline of €170 million), and Algeria (down €120 million).

Five countries provided 35% of the EU’s agri-food imports in 2019: the USA (€11.8 billion worth of imports), Brazil (€11.6 billion), Ukraine (€7.4 billion), China (€6.1 billion), and Argentina (€5 billion).

Compared to 2018, the value of imports increased from Ukraine (up by €1.76 billion), Canada (€451 million), China (€418 million), Peru (€334 million), and Serbia (€279 million). However, the value of imports fell in relation to the USA (a drop of €290 million), Indonesia (€290 million), Brazil (€288 million), Australia (€286 million), and New Zealand (€190 million).

2019 saw a rise in the export values of several products, most notably pork meat (which rose by €2.36 billion), wheat (up €1.75 billion), and spirits and liqueurs (an increase of €1.13 billion). The biggest drops in export values were recorded for beet and cane sugars (down by €523 million), olive oil (a decline of €125 million), and raw hides and skins (a decrease of €114 million).

A number of products experienced a rise in their import values over the course of 2019. The highest increases were for tropical fruit (which grew by €752 million), oilseeds (other than soyabeans) (up by €747 million), and vegetable oils (other than palm and olive oil) (up €660 million). However, import values declined for palm and palm kernel oil (a fall of €612 million), citrus fruit (down €282 million), and olive oil (a decrease of €215 million).

EU28: trade of agri-food products in million euro, per quarter
Source: Eurostat, Comext

More information

27 MARCH 2020
Monitoring EU agri-food trade: developments in 2019
(562.21 KB - PDF)

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Trade and international policy analysis

Previous monthly data on EU agri-food imports and exports.