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Agriculture and rural development
News article25 January 2021Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development2 min read

EU agri-food trade maintains stable growth during January-October 2020

Between January-October 2020, EU27 exports reached €151.8 billion (an increase of 0.5% compared to the same period in 2019), while imports totalled €102 billion (an increase of 0.1%). As a result, the agri-food trade surplus rose by 1.3% to €49.8 billion. These are amongst the main developments published today by the European Commission in the monthly trade report for January-October 2020.

The strong performance of EU agri-food exports to China continued, with a growth of €3.09 billion led by pig meat, wheat, and infant food. There was also a rise in the value of EU agri-food exports to Saudi Arabia (amounting to €629 million), boosted by sales of barley and dairy products. A wide range of products propelled an increase in the value of EU agri-food exports to Switzerland (up by €531 million), while wheat and various dairy products performed strongly in Algeria and Morocco, where the agri-food export values rose by €408 million and €393 million respectively.  

As for trade with the UK, EU imports from the UK dropped in value by €1.56 billion, while EU exports to the UK declined by €546 million. The decline in trade affected the majority of agri-food products, most notably wine, spirits and liqueurs, poultry meat, live animals and butter. However, EU exports of wheat, pasta and pastry enjoyed increases in value.

A reduction in the EU’s intake of US soya beans and oilcakes contributed to an overall drop of €663 million in the value of imports, while the value of EU exports fell by €705 million, with spirits and wine the main products affected. There was, however, an increase in the export value of EU food preparations.

Other countries where agri-food trade endured difficulties were Singapore and Hong Kong (where the value of EU agri-food exports fell by €347 million and €312 million, respectively) and Ukraine and India, where import values declined by €775 million and €258 million, respectively.  

With a rise of €713 million, Canada was the leading source of growth for agri-food imports to the EU, driven by intakes of rapeseed and wheat. Other growing sources included Brazil (up €623 million, driven by soya beans), Indonesia (€541 million, led by palm oil), and Turkey (€528 million, led by nuts and citrus fruits).

In terms of product categories, remarkable growths were recorded in the export values of EU pig meat (by €2.17 billion) and wheat (€1.44 billion). Pet food (whose export value increased by €399 million), rapeseed and sunflower oil (€338 million) and coarse grains (€296 million) were amongst the other growing product categories during this period.

Over the course of 2020, the COVID-19 crisis significantly impacted the wine, spirit drinks and liqueur sectors. Compared to January-October 2019, the export value of EU spirits and liqueurs declined by €1.53 billion, while the value of wine fell by €1.43 billion.

As regards imports, the value of coarse grains fell by €1.06 billion, spirits and liqueurs dropped by €549 million, and oilcakes declined by €464 million). More positive trade developments were recorded for fresh and dried tropical fruit (whose import value jumped by €666 million), palm and palm kernel oil (up by €566 million), and fatty acids and waxes (up €621 million).


More information

25 JANUARY 2021
Monitoring EU agri-food trade: developments until October 2020

Related links

Trade and international policy analysis

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


Publication date
25 January 2021
Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development