The European Union plays an important role in global trade of food and drink products, exporting and importing products throughout the world. Its major trade partners are members of the European Economic Area (EEA), of the Euro Mediterranean Association and other third countries, with which the EU has signed numerous bilateral trade agreements.
The legislation referring to the food industry is based on Council Regulation (EC) No 1216/2009 , which is currently under revision. It can be divided into trade arrangements governing the import of processed agricultural products from third countries and rules governing the payments of export refunds on exports of processed agricultural products to third countries. Those specific rules governing the trade of processed agricultural products are established in close cooperation with the Management Committee in which all Member States are represented.
The Commission has published several competitiveness studies on the food sector. In addition to these, a succint analysis of the current competitiveness situation in the food sector, as well as in a wide range of other industrial sectors, can be found in the publication "European industry in a changing world - updated sectoral overview 2009 [770 KB] ".