10 September 2021


On 8 September, the European Commission published the 2020 annual report on EU agri-food trade, which finds that the EU reinforced its leading position among the world’s biggest exporters. On the import side, the EU has become the third largest importer after the US and China.

While the year 2020 marked one of the biggest recessions in global economic activity and world trade, EU international trade in agri-food reported a slight growth. Over the course of 2020, the value of EU agri-food exports increased to € 184.3 billion (a growth of 1.4% compared to 2019), while the value of imports rose to € 122.2 billion (a growth of 0.5%).

In 2020, the UK has become the EU’s most important partner in agri-food trade, with a share of 23% in total EU agri-food exports and 13% in total imports. China, Switzerland and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region were the major growth destinations for EU agri-food exports in 2020. The value of EU exports fell most to the US, Turkey, Singapore and Japan. In terms of imports, Canada grew significantly as a source for the EU imports. By contrast, EU imports declined most in value from the UK, Ukraine and the US. Looking at product categories, exports of pig meat and wheat strongly contributed to the increase in EU overall agri-food exports.

In 2020, the EU applied 45 free trade agreements (FTAs) with 77 partners. The share of agri-food trade under preferential agreements is also expanding and in 2021, it accounted for 31% and 41% of total EU agri-food exports and imports, respectively.

You can read the full report here.