BELGIUM, Brussels. The 27 member states of the European Union set a new export record last year with more than 6 mill. t.
According to preliminary data from the EU Commission, 6.31 mill. t were exported, including offal; this was 723,200 t or 12.9% more than in the previous record year of 2019. In addition to the sharp increase in shipments to China, Brexit and thus the new third-country status for the United Kingdom also contributed to the high export volume. Excluding trade with the UK, for which data is also only available from January to October 2020, EU pork exports rose 18.8% year-on-year to 5.43 mill. t; however, this also still represented a new record.
Export revenues for EU pork suppliers also bubbled up correspondingly strongly last year, with export revenues rising by € 2.16 bn., or 16.9%, to € 14.92 bn. compared to 2019. Excluding incompletely recorded trade with the UK, the figure was € 12.22 bn.; up 23.3% year-on-year. With prices still quite high in the first half of 2020, the average export value of a ton of pork increased by 3.7% to € 2,251. Exports to China saw a 5.8% increase in prices to € 2,130 per t. Business with China brought a total of € 7.13 bn. into the coffers of EU exporters; this was 53.6% more than in 2019. The export volume to China shot up by 1.04 mill. t or 45.2% to almost 3.35 mill. t. This means that more than every second t of pork exported by the EU was delivered to China.
After China, Great Britain was the most important customer of EU pork exporters. However, according to data not yet fully available, shipments to the island fell by a good 13% to 881,000 t. Other major customers also saw a drop in sales. The Japanese, for example, bought 360,000 t, almost a fifth less than in the EU, and business with South Korea was down 26.6% to 195,000 t. Exports to the Philippines even slumped by 30.6% to 153,000 t. In contrast, more pork and by-products were sold to Hong Kong, with an increase of almost 40% to 283,600 t. In addition, exports to Côte d'Ivoire, Serbia and Canada increased by double-digit percentages.
Spain was by far the biggest beneficiary of higher import demand, especially from China, in the EU. According to Commission data, Iberian pork exports to third countries increased by 666,400 t, or 53.2%, to 1.92 mill. t compared to 2019. Germany was able to maintain its second place among the most important EU exporters with 1.06 mill. t, despite the export ban for many countries due to African swine fever (ASF), which will take effect from September 2020, but had to cope with a decline of almost 174,000 t or 14.1%.