Economic trends in the EU
1. Food and drink industry output index increased
2. Evolution of main agricultural raw material prices
3. Price developments in the food supply chain: producer prices continued to peak above both consumer prices and overall inflation in Q3 of 2012
4. Slight decrease in employment index in the EU food and drink industry
5. Food and drink industry turnover index started to increase again
6. Confirming previous quarters’ trends, imported food prices continued to rise
Trade: Both imports and exports increased in Q3 of 2012 year-on-year
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China ranks fifth among the most important export markets for the EU food and drink products and is the fourth country in the world as regards food imports to the EU, after Brazil, Argentina and the US. The EU contributes 14% to the Chinese food and drink imports, which gives it the leading position, before Malaysia (13%), the US (13%) and Indonesia (10%).1

The EU food and drink exports to China amounted to €3.5 billionin 2011. This constitutes 3% of the EU overall exports to this Asian giant. The total EU agricultural exports including unprocessed or not edible agricultural products were worth nearly €3.8 billion during the same period.

The EU has traditionally registered a negative trade balance with China. In 2011, it amounted to €600 million for food products and to €2.1 billion for the total agricultural trade as the Chinese exports of food products to the EU were worth €4.1 billion, plus an additional €1.5 billion of agricultural commodities.

However, considering the growing demand in China and a more moderate appetite for food imports in the EU, Europe may well register in 2012 its first trade surplus with China in food and drink products. As illustrated by the chart below, bilateral trade has been growing in both directions over the last decade with a particularly good EU export performance in the last three years.

EU-China trade in food and drink
January 2002-September 2012 monthly data in million euros

exports. imports.png
Source: Eurostat COMEXT, CPA 2008

The main European exporters to the Chinese market are France (35%), the Netherlands (16%), Spain (11%), Germany (10%) and Denmark (10%). Germany is also the single major importer of Chinese products (25%), followed by the Netherlands (15%), UK (13%) and Spain (12%).

Processed products with high added value, such as alcoholic beverages (except wines), chocolate and confectionery, bakery and pasta, food preparations of different kinds and ready to eat products (i.e. so called ‘Non Annex 1 products'3) amount to more than one third of the EU exports to China but only 13% of Chinese products imported to the EU.

Looking into specific product categories, meat products, alcoholic drinks and dairy are the leading EU exports to the Chinese market. The other way round, China provides the EU with a considerable amount of fish, fruit and vegetable products.

EU food and drink exports to China in 2011
graph 1.png
Source: Eurostat COMEXT, CPA 2008

EU food and drink imports from China in 2011

graph 2.png
Source: Eurostat COMEXT, CPA 2008

1 UN COMTRADE, 2011 data

2 Eurostat COMEXT data, if not otherwise indicated

3 Non-Annex I products are some processed agricultural goods not included in the Annex I of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, i.e. excluded from the remit of the Common Agricultural Policy.

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