Time for new trading partners? EU dethrones the US as world's top food exporter
The European Union (EU) beat out the United States to become the world's top exporter of agricultural and food products last year, a European Commission report on the global farming market said Monday.
Fuelled by record sales to China and other emerging markets, in 2013 the 28 countries of the EU sold 120 billion euros ($163 billion) in agri-food products, up 5.8 per cent and with cereals alone accounting for over two thirds of the jump.
A market of 500 million people, the EU remained the world's biggest importer of farming and food products, though the level was mostly unchanged from 2012 at 101.5 billion euros.
A quarter of Chinese imports came from the United States, but the EU saw its share rise to 9.1 per cent in 2013, mainly on sales of malt extract for beer brewing, and pork.
Hit by drought, the United States lost the top exporter perch with sales of soya bean and cotton especially affected. Lower prices in China also hurt US exports putting neighbour Canada back as top destination.
Agricultural products in the EU make up 9 per cent of total bloc exports, ranking fourth after machinery, chemicals and pharmaceuticals.
The EU became a net exporter of agricultural goods in 2010, and has seen its trade surplus in the sector grow steadily ever since.