Current Status of Agricultural Trade between China and Europe in 2020
by Lea Siebert
Dr. Aihemaitijiang Rouzi
Advisor Agricultural Sustainability (DCZ)
23 September 2020
Since China's accession to the WTO, the scale of agricultural trade between China and EU has expanded year by year. According to China Customs data, from 2002 to 2019, Chinese exports of agricultural products to the EU increased by 4.9 times. In 2019, they reached 9.44 billion U.S. dollars, meaning an average annual growth rate of 11%, which was 2.7 percentage points higher than that of the United States over the same period. Imports increased by 20.9 times and reached 18.64 billion U.S. dollars in 2019, with an average annual growth rate of 19.9%. At present, China is the EU's second largest export market for agricultural products and the third largest source of agricultural imports, as well as one of the potential core markets for European geographical landmark products. 2020 marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the EU. Under the dual impact from the severe economic interference caused by the Covid-19 epidemic and the Brexit, the EU has maintained a good momentum of agricultural trade with China.
From the Chinese perspective, most of China’s trade partners in the EU are countries with a relatively high degree of agricultural modernization, with the trade share of Central and Eastern European countries being relatively small. In the first half of 2020, the top five export markets for China’s agricultural products in the EU are Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and France, accounting for 24.5%, 21.6%, 15.3%, 6.6% and 6.4% of China’s agricultural exports to Europe, respectively. The top five sources of imports from the EU are France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Denmark, accounting for 19.3%, 18.3%, 18%, 16.4% and 10.4% of China's agricultural imports from Europe.
In terms of products, the bilateral agricultural trade is diversified. In the first half of 2020, the top five agricultural products exported by China to the EU are fish, vegetables, sausage casings, nuts and edible oilseeds, with a total export value of US$1.68 billion, accounting for 43.8% of the export value of agricultural products to Europe. China’s top five agricultural products imported from the EU are pork products, dairy products, alcohol and wine, wheat products and hemp, with a total import value of 8.28 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 78.5% of the import value of agricultural products from Europe.
Table: Agricultural trade between the EU and China in first half of 2020 (Source: China Customs)