The EU is the world's largest exporter of food and drink products and its second largest importer.
The European food industry is the world’s leading exporter of processed agricultural products (PAPs) and has a positive trade balance. Nevertheless, its market share of the global export market has been shrinking over the past ten years to the benefit of Brazil and China.
The most important destinations for exports of EU PAPs are the USA, Switzerland, the Middle-East, Russia, China, Norway and Japan. EU imports mainly originate from Switzerland, the USA, Ivory Coast, China and Indonesia.
In addition to its international commitments under WTO (World Trade Organization) agreements, the EU has entered into bilateral agreements with important trading partners concerning trade in PAPs.
In 2011, the EU exported about EUR 41.5 billion-worth of PAPs to the rest of the world. By 2013, this figure had risen to EUR 43 billion. Imports of PAPs into the EU stood at EUR 11.3 billion in 2011 and rose to EUR 12.1 billion in 2013. These figures represent an increasingly positive trade balance in PAPs between the EU and the rest of the world. The trade balance reached almost EUR 31 billion in 2013.
With 17% of all EU exports, the USA is the number one export country for the European food and drink industries. Russia comes second with almost seven percent of all EU exports in 2013. Switzerland, China, Japan, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, China and Turkey are the next largest export destinations for European PAPs.
The four largest EU exporters of PAPs in 2013 were France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Germany. The sum of their exports was more than 60% of total EU exports.
Switzerland is the main supplier of PAPs to the EU, providing 16% of its imports in 2013. The USA follows with a 15% share for the same year. Ivory Coast, China, Indonesia, Turkey, Malaysia and Thailand are the next largest exporters of PAPs to the EU.
Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and France were the EU's four largest importers of PAPs in 2013.