EU - EU exports for agricultural products reached €129 billion in 2015, an annual increase of 5.7 per cent, securing the EU's position as a top world agri-food exporter with a net trade surplus of €16 billion.
The entire output of the European Union's agricultural sector was valued at €410 billion in 2015, according to a new report on Agri-food trade in 2015.
Although some Member States and sectors still suffered from the Russian ban and from low world market prices, the overall EU agricultural trade performance was positive in 2015.
Phil Hogan, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development commented on the report: "Our trade performance continues to be a real good news story for the EU agri-food sector."
But Copa & Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen warned: “Farmers are not reaping the benefits of this gain. Farmers’ incomes are only on average half the level of average earnings in the EU and they fell again last year, being hit by low prices and high input costs. Their incomes are constantly being squeezed by processors and retailers. This has to stop."
Diversification of exports has been the key for this performance. Besides finding new markets, ties with existing partners have been strengthened, as around half of the total gain in exports came from increased trade with China.
Currently, the top five destinations for EU28 agri-food exports are the US, China, Switzerland, Russia and Japan.
Several sanitary and phyto-sanitary barriers were lifted in 2015 and export opportunities also increased because of agreements on geographical indications for EU quality products with among others Morocco.
Dairy products and fruit and vegetables were the sectors most severely hit by the Russian ban. The lower export value of dairy products was also caused by lower prices.
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