World agricultural trade reached an all-time high in 2010 - at least 12% above the previous record set in 2008 - according to a new MAP (Monitoring Agri-trade Policy) report published by the Commission's Directorate-General for Agriculture & Rural Development.
In fact, this 20% recovery came after a 6% slump in agricultural trade in 2009. This compares with a 14.5% expansion in global trade in goods & services last year following a 12% drop in global trade the previous year. In the EU, this improvement was highlighted by a 21% increase in the value of agricultural exports, driven by stronger demand for final products, as the EU's key trading partners come out of recession and higher prices for commodities and intermediate goods, combined with a weaker Euro. At the same stage, the strengthening of the EU market, consistent with economic growth, is witnessed by the 9% rise in imports in 2010, although they remain below the peak of 2008.
The EU remains the world's biggest importer of agricultural products from developing countries, importing €59 billion worth of goods in 2008-10. This is far ahead of the US, Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand put together, whose combined imports from developing countries reached €49 billion over this period.
All in all, the resulting improvement in the EU's trade figures turned it into a net exporter in 2010 for the first time since 2006, with a €6 billion agricultural trade surplus.