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EU agrifood export surplus at record levels in 2016


Since 2013, the EU is the world’s biggest food product exporter. New data released by the Commission suggest the export performance of the EU’s food sector continues to be strong, with the EU’s export surplus reaching € 18.8 bn, the highest on record, in 2016.

Last year, the EU exported 130.7 percent worth of food products, an increase of 1.3 percent compared to 2015. Export levels in 2016 were almost 30 percent higher than in 2011. In 2016, the EU exported 20.6 bn worth of food to the US, up 6.5 percent compared to the year before. Exports to China increased by 10.6 percent to € 11.4 bn in 2016. Exports to Japan, Korea, and Vietnam were also buoyant in 2016, recording growth of 8, 10, and 32 percent respectively.  

The biggest beneficiaries of the export boom were pigmeat, meat offal, and olive oil. Other major export staples are non-specific food preparations, infant food, wine, cigars and cigarettes, fresh vegetables, fruit and vegetables preparations, live animals, and pet food.

Exports of raw hides and skins, cereals other than wheat and rice, wheat, milk powders, and poultry meat declined, however.

Exports of food products represented 7.5 percent of the EU’s total exports in 2016.  

On the import side, 2016 saw significant increases in inflows of of cocoa beans, vegetable oils (other than palm and olive oil), fresh vegetables, citrus fruit, and oilseed other than soya beans. Brazil and Argentina were the EU’s top import sources.