Japan has overtaken Russia as the fourth most important export destination of EU agri-food products after the United States, China, and Switzerland, a new European Commission report has found (23 December).
According to the Monitoring EU Agri-Food Trade report, from November 2015 to October 2016, EU agri-food exports reached a value of €129.9 billion, a 1.9% increase in value terms compared to the same period last year.
A rising middle class in emerging markets, focused on food quality, bodes well for EU agri-exports, said Marc Vanheukelen, the European Union’s ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO). EurActiv.com reports from Athens.
The export surplus for the 12-month period increased to more than €18 billion.
Exports to Russia further down
According to the report, major gains were recorded in agri-food exports to the USA (+8%), China (+12%), Japan (+0.4 billion) and Vietnam (+330 million).
Exports to Russia further decreased, from €5.7 billion in November 2014 to October 2015, to €5.5 billion during the period November 2015 to October 2016, representing a 5% reduction in value.
Russia now is the fifth most popular destination for the EU agri-food exports behind the US, China, Switzerland, and Japan.
Japan and the trade deal
Japan has become the fourth most important export market for EU agri-food worldwide. The net surplus in agri-food trade with Tokyo has been estimated at €5 billion annually for the last few years.
EU producers mainly export to Japan pork, wine and vermouth, cheese and spirits and liqueurs.
Negotiations for a free trade agreement between the EU and Japan are ongoing and, according to the Commission, a successful conclusion would open further opportunities for the EU agri-food sector.