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EU leading in #GlobalAgriFoodTrade

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In a report published on 5 September,, the EU confirms for yet another year its position as largest global exporter of agri-food products, with EU exports reaching €138 billion in 2018.

Agriculture products represent a solid share of 7% of the value of EU total goods exported in 2018, ranking fourth after machinery, other manufactured goods and chemicals. Agriculture and the food related industries and services together provide almost 44 million jobs in the EU. The food production and processing chain accounts for 7.5% of employment and 3.7% of total value added in the EU.

Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan (pictured) said: “The increasingly market-oriented Common Agricultural Policy has made a decisive contribution to the EU's success in agricultural trade. The EU's reputation for having safe, sustainably produced, nutritious and quality products is a winning formula in the global marketplace. The Commission is here to assist producers in taking full advantage of opportunities around the globe, while always making sure that our more sensitive sectors are provided with sufficient safeguards.”

The top five destinations for EU's agri-food products continues to be the United States, China, Switzerland, Japan and Russia, accounting for 40% of EU exports. In addition to negotiating trade agreements that provide further opportunities for EU farmers, the European Commission helps EU exporters to enter new markets and benefit from business possibilities through promotion activities, including high-level missions led by Commissioner Hogan. In 2018 and 2019, Commissioner Hogan accompanied by EU producers travelled to China, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.

Wines and vermouth continue to dominate the basket of exported products with spirits and liqueurs ranking second. Then come infant food and various food preparations, chocolate, pasta and pastry.

Regarding imports, the report concludes that the EU became the second biggest importer of agri-food products with €116 billion worth of imports. This brings the EU trade balance for this sector to a positive net of €22 billion.

The EU mainly sources three types of products: products that are not, or only to a small extent, produced in the EU such as tropical fruit, coffee and fresh or dried fruits (representing 23.4% of imports in 2018); products that are destined for animal feed (including oilcakes and soybeans – together 10.8% of imports); and products used as ingredients in further processing (such as palm oil).

Imports from the U.S. were the fastest growing in 2018, with an increase of 10%, which makes this country the EU's top supplier of agri-food products.

The full report also includes an overview of the trade performance of the EU's key partners (United States, China, Brazil, Japan, Russia) and their trade flows with the EU, as well as a chapter on trade and cooperation with Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

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Monitoring Agri-trade Policy

Agriculture

Commission organizes first Farm to Fork 2020 conference 

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On 15 October European Green Deal Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans, together with  Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides and Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski opened the Farm to Fork 2020 conference - Building sustainable food systems together. The virtual conference will also take place today (16 October), it being World Food Day. This conference is the first in what will be an annual gathering of European stakeholders willing to engage and help shape the EU's path towards sustainable food systems.

More than 1,000 stakeholders across the food value chain, public authorities, international and civil society organizations, as well as members of the public have registered to join the debate and contribute to the implementation of the Farm to Fork Strategy, adopted earlier this year. At the heart of the European Green Deal, the strategy aims at a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system. The event will also provide a forum for discussion on the challenges and opportunities linked to the transition to sustainable food systems, as well as on possible further areas of intervention The whole event is accessible via web streaming.

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Agriculture

Commission publishes public opinion survey on EU food and farming

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Three out of four Europeans are aware of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and consider all citizens benefit from it, according to the latest EU-wide Eurobarometer survey of public opinion about agriculture and the CAP, published today by the European Commission. The survey shows that more EU citizens are aware of the CAP (73% today, six percentage points more than in 2017) and believe that the CAP benefits all citizens, not only farmers (76% today, 15 percentage points more than in 2017).

Furthermore, citizens' views on what the main objectives of the CAP should be remain similar to the findings of the 2017 survey. Most believe that providing safe, healthy food of high quality should be the main objective, representing the view of 62% of respondents, same as in 2017. An increased number of Europeans think that the EU is fulfilling its role regarding the key objectives of the CAP. In comparison with 2017, all areas including food security, sustainability, safe and quality food increased by at least five percentage points.

More citizens are now aware of the organic farming logo, covering 56% of respondents (up 29 percentage points compared to 2017). Even though a growing share of citizens believe that agriculture is one of the major causes of climate change (from 29% in 2010 to 42% in 2020), the majority of citizens believe that agriculture has already made a major contribution to fighting climate change, with 55% holding this view, up from 46% in 2010. The survey was conducted from August to September 2020, including more than 27,200 respondents in 27 member states. The full report of the EU-survey will be published later in November. More information is available online.

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Agriculture

Publication of latest agri-food trade figures: Slight increase in EU27 agri-food trade despite Coronavirus and Brexit challenges

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The latest monthly agri-food trade report shows that between January and May 2020, the total value of EU-27 agri-food exports rose by 2% compared to the same period in 2019, reaching €75.8 billion, while the value of imports increased to €52.7bn (a rise of nearly 1%).

However the monthly values of EU-27 exports and imports in May 2020 decreased by 7.5% and 4.5% respectively below the level of the previous month. The EU enjoyed an agri-food trade surplus of €23.1 billion during this period, an increase of 5% compared to the corresponding months of 2019. The growth of EU exports was driven by exceptionally high sales of pig meat to China and of cereals to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

The value of EU exports to China rose by €1.93 billion during this period. In addition to pig meat, the other EU agri-food products in high demand from China were wheat, offal meat, and infant food. Strong demand for EU barley and wheat led to increases in exports to the MENA region. The total value of EU agri-food exports to the UK fell by €899 million, while, imports from the UK dropped by €807m. Declines were also noted in the value of the EU's imports from the USA as well as EU export values to the USA.

The full report is available online and more information on agri-trade policy is available here.

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