03 February 2022, Belgium: The total value of EU agri-food trade (exports plus imports) for January-October 2021 reached a value of €268.1 billion, a 6% increase compared to the same period last year. Exports rose by 7% to €162.8 billion, while imports grew by 4% to €105.3 billion, giving a total agri-food trade surplus of €57.5 billion. This is an increase of 14% compared to the corresponding period in 2020.
The largest growth in exports was to the United States, which grew by €2.4 billion or 7%, driven by strong performances from wine, spirit and liqueurs, and chocolate and confectionary. Additionally, exports to South Korea and Switzerland rose by €698 million and €588 million respectively, while increases were also reported in exports to Norway (up €473 million or 12%) and Israel (up €395 million or 23%).
Exports to the United Kingdom during this period increased marginally, up €39 million or 0.1%. Exports to the UK were particularly depressed in the early part of the year and this slight increase, reflects how strongly they have rebounded as the year progressed.
While a significant overall increase in agri-food exports was reported, exports to a number of countries fell. The largest decline was seen in exports to Saudi Arabia, which fell by €548 million or 15%, largely due to a drop in exports of wheat, barley and cereal preparations. Other notable decreases were reported in exports to Hong Kong (down €245 million or -12%) and Kuwait (down €130 million or -21%).
Despite the continued recovery in the value of exports to the UK, imports from there fell more than those from any other country, down by €3.3 billion or 26%. A significant decrease was also seen in imports from the United States, which fell by €625 million or 8%, as well as imports from Canada (down €256 million or -11%), Switzerland (down €119 million or-3%), and Tunisia (down €117 million or -19%).
Regarding specific product categories, the first ten months of 2021 saw major increases in the export values of wine (up €3 billion or 27%) and spirits and liqueurs (up €1.4 billion or 26%). Other increases in the value of exports were seen in rapeseed and sunflower oils (up €808 million or 31%), chocolate and confectionary (€744 million or 11%), and coarse grains (up €686 million or 31%).
Sizeable decreases were, however, reported for exports of infant food (down €763 million or -10%) pig meat (down €348 million or -4%) and wheat (down €304 million or -5%)The most notable increases in the value of imports were seen in oilcakes (up €1.3 billion or 25%), soya beans (up €1.3 billion or 30%), fatty acids and waxes (up €915 million or 36%), while the highest decreases were seen in tropical fruit, nuts and spices (down €602 million or -5.3%) and fruit juices (down €200 million or -11.9%).