The international dimension is part and parcel of the common agricultural policy (CAP), as maintaining a healthy balance of imports and exports is key to safeguarding internal market stability.
In order to ensure the delivery of the CAP objectives, the European Commission collects statistics and produces analyses of agricultural trade and international agri-food policy developments.
The most up to date information is published monthly in “Monitoring EU agri-food trade”, while a more in-depth examination of how the EU agri-food trade flows have changed in the past year is provided in the annual “Monitoring agri-trade policy” report.
Both publications examine trends and developments in agri-food trade with reference to the key players and products. These publications are complimented by factsheets, compiled to present a detailed picture of the EU’s agri-food trading relationships and illustrate significant developments in the international agri-food market.
The European Commission and its partners also produce various studies and analytical papers on trade policies affecting agriculture.
Overall, the range of statistics and analyses demonstrate that the EU offers a diverse array of competitive products at all levels of the agricultural value chain and plays a central role in international agri-trade.
Monitoring EU agri-food trade
"Monitoring EU agri-food trade" provides the most up-to-date information on EU agri-food trade. The series highlights the latest statistics relating to trading relationships and product categories, identifying notable developments and emerging trends.
Monitoring agri-trade policy
Monitoring agri-trade policy (MAP) is an annual publication that provides an in-depth analysis of the dominant issues concerning agri-food policy and agricultural trade in general. The series contains a detailed overview of the international agri-food trade environment, with a focus on key products and partners.
In 2018, the EU agri-food trade reached a value of €254 billion - €138 billion of exports and €116 billion of imports, confirming for another year the EU’s position as the largest global exporter and second largest importer of agri-food products. Agriculture products accounted for a solid share of 7% of the value of EU total goods exported in 2018, further contributing to job creation and growth in the European agri-food sector.
In 2017, the EU kept the lead in global trade of agri-food products, with €138 billion worth of exports and €117 billion of imports. The significance of the agri-food sector is also highlighted in the report, representing 7.5% of EU employment.
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The European Commission produces a series of country and region based factsheets to provide a comprehensive overview of EU agri-food trade across the world.
The factsheets create a picture of the EU’s agri-food trading relationship with the respective countries and regions by focusing on key agricultural and trade indicators, outlining the balance of exports and imports, and providing a breakdown of trade by product categories.
Studies are regularly produced by the European Commission and its partners, assessing the potential impact of international trade agreements on agriculture.
Impact of EU trade agreements on the EU agricultural sector
The study, carried out in 2017 on behalf of the Commission by the independent consultancy Copenhagen Economics, analyses the impact on agri-food trade of the agreements concluded by the EU with three countries: Mexico, South Korea and Switzerland. It shows that trade agreements have helped to boost EU agricultural exports and have supported jobs in the agri-food sector and other sectors of the economy.
Economic study on the cumulative effects of trade agreements on the EU agricultural sector
A report carried out in 2016 by the European Commission (Joint research centre working together with the department for agriculture and rural development) on the potential impact of a number of trade negotiations on the EU agricultural sector, based on models simulating reciprocal liberalisation of import tariffs between the EU and the relevant trading partners.
Studies on the effects of a potential free trade agreement (FTA) between the EU and Mercosur
European Commission, Joint research centre (Institute for prospective technological studies): Potential EU-Mercosur FTA – impact assessment (2011)
European Commission, department for agriculture and rural development:
European Commission, department for trade: