Agricultural trade

  • Flemish agricultural trade surplus amounts to 6.4 billion euro

    Flanders exported 38.4 billion euro worth of agricultural trade products in 2018. Imports of such products accounted for 32 billion euro. The surplus on the agricultural trade balance amounted to 6.4 billion euro. Both exports and imports have increased in recent years. Exports grew by 6% and imports by 3% In two years. The trade balance increased by 28%. 


    Exports consist mainly of imported products that may or may not be processed here before re-exporting (re-export). The share of agricultural products in total Flemish trade was 10.5% for imports and 13.2% for exports. 

  • Share of animal produce largest in the overall agricultural trade surplus


    Agricultural trade can be split up into five categories: arable produce, horticultural produce, animal produce, agro-industrial produce (pesticides, agricultural equipment and fertilisers) and other produce (fish, crustaceans and molluscs, beverages, oils and fats, animal feed). 


    Animal produce in particular, with a positive balance of 2.3 billion euro, is an important contributor to the Flemish trade surplus. Agro-industrial products also show a positive balance of 2 billion euro.  In addition, arable produce and other produce have trade surpluses of 1.2 billion euro and 1.1 billion euro respectively. Only horticultural products recorded a deficit of 178 million euro, mainly due to the import of exotic fruits and fruit juices. 

  • Some 60% of trade involves neighbouring countries

    Flemish agricultural trade mainly involves the neighbouring countries. In 2018, the neighbouring countries have a share of 58% and 63% in imports and exports respectively. The second most important group of trade partners is made up of the other countries of the European Union, which account for 10% of imports and exports. The United Kingdom accounts for 3% of imports and 8% of exports. 


    Agricultural trade with the MERCOSUR countries shows a trade deficit of 822 million euro. However, agricultural trade surpluses were recorded with the United States (138 million euro), China (267 million euro) and Russia (154 million euro). 


    It should be pointed out in this context that Flanders is a transit region. Many products are imported and exported by other European countries via our ports. 


Department of Agriculture and Fisheries: Agricultural trade report  


Agricultural trade products: all products produced and/or processed in the agribusiness complex (ABC). This refers to agricultural products, food (including beverages), but also non-food products such as agro-industrial products (fertilisers, agricultural equipment or animal feed). 

MERCOSUR countries: Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. 

Publication date

18 July 2019

Next update

June 2020

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