BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — The E.U. maintained its position as the world's number one exporter in 2014, with agri-food exports representing more than 7% of all goods exported and with a net surplus of €18 billion, the European Commission said on July 31.
Currently, the top five destinations for EU28 agri-food exports are the U.S., Russia, China, Switzerland and Japan.
The U.S. is by far the most important partner destination, absorbing 13% of total exports.
While the E.U. and the U.S. are still negotiating the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP), 2014 figures already confirm the growing importance and strengthened links with the U.S. in agri-food trade. In 2014, sales to the U.S. grew faster than to any other top five country (up 7%).
The second most important export destination is Russia, in spite of a dramatic drop in sales of23% due to the Russian import embargo for certain products (meats, dairy products, fruit & vegetables) in the second half of the year.
'Spirits and liqueurs' and 'wine, cider and vinegar' continue to dominate the basket of exported products, each of them representing 8% of total EU28 agri-food exports.
Highest gains were achieved for products which already represent a high share in agri-food exports: Infant food, milk powders and whey, wheat, chocolate and confectionary as well as preparations of vegetables, fruits and nuts.
Concerning imports, the EU28 primarily augmented purchases on world markets of 'tropical fruits, nut and spices', 'coffee and tea', cocoa products (beans and paste and powders) and preparations of vegetables, which in most cases were related to higher price levels than in the previous year.
European imports decreased strongest in sugar and several oilseed products.
The E.U. remains the top importer of agri-food products from the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) with a value (€3 billion) notably higher than the combined figure for the U.S., China, Japan, Russia and Canada (€2.5 billion).
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