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Agriculture and rural development
News article25 February 2021Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development

Stable EU agri-food trade continues throughout January-November 2020

From January to November 2020, the value of EU27 agri-food exports totalled €168.5 billion (a rise of 0.9% compared to the same period in 2019), while the value of imports increased to €112.3 billion (a rise of 0.4%). During this period, the EU enjoyed an agri-food trade surplus of €56.2 billion, an increase of 2% compared to the corresponding months of 2019. These are findings have been published today by the European Commission in the monthly trade report for January-November 2020.

China remained the major growth destination for EU agri-food exports, with demand for pig meat, wheat, and infant food contributing to a rise of €3.71 billion in total export values. A wide range of products drove a €600 million increase in the value of EU agri-food exports to Switzerland. Cereals and dairy products led a growth in the value of exports to the Middle East and North Africa region, most notably in the cases of Saudi Arabia (a rise of €577 million), Algeria (a jump of €444 million) and Morocco (up by €412 million).

The value of EU exports to the USA fell by €496 million, with spirits and wine the main products affected. The value of EU exports also declined in the cases of Singapore (by €357 million) and Japan (€307 million).

EU exports to the UK enjoyed a slight increase of €15 million compared to January-November 2019. EU exports of wheat, pasta and pastry benefitted in particular, although sales of wine, spirits and liqueurs, and poultry meat declined. Compared to the previous period in 2019, EU imports from the UK dropped in value by €1.44 billion. The drop affected many product categories, most notably spirits and liqueurs.

Canada remained a growing source for EU agri-food imports, with a rise of €854 million driven by rapeseed and durum wheat. Imports from Brazil increased by €618 million, driven by soya beans, while palm oil drove increases from both Indonesia (up by €587 million) and Malaysia (up €490 million). On the other hand, import values fell in relation to agri-food products from Ukraine (by €806 million), the USA (€698 million), and India (€244 million).

In terms of product categories, declines were recorded in the import values of coarse grains (by €1.14 billion), spirits and liqueurs (€494 million), oilcakes (€384 million), and bovine meat (€381 million). Meanwhile, import values increased for fresh and dried tropical fruit (up by €586 million), palm and palm kernel oil (up €690 million), and fatty acids and waxes (up €673 million).

The COVID-19 pandemic continued to affect the export values of EU spirits and liqueurs (declining by €1.54 billion) and wine (falling by €1.3 billion). Other product categories to experience declines during this period were raw hides and skins (down by €604 million), cotton (a drop of €382 million), and poultry meat (a fall of €287 million).

As regards exports, pig meat and wheat continued to be the strongest performing product categories, with growths of €2.12 billion and €1.59 billion respectively. Other growing product categories during this period were pet food (up by €463 million), rapeseed and sunflower oil (up €389 million) and pasta and pastry (up €340 million).

More information

25 FEBRUARY 2021
Monitoring EU agri-food trade: developments until November 2020
(867.2 KB - PDF)

Related links

Trade and international policy analysis

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


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