Flemish agricultural trade surplus amounts to 7.1 billion euro
Flanders exported 39.2 billion euro worth of agricultural trade products in 2019. Imports of such products accounted for 32.1 billion euro. The surplus on the agricultural trade balance amounted to 7.1 billion euro. Exports consist mainly of imported products that may or may not be processed here before re-exporting (re-export).
Both exports and imports have increased in recent years. Compared to 2016, exports grew by 8% and imports by 3%. The trade balance increased by 41% in the same period.
In 2019, the share of agricultural products in total Flemish trade was 10.8% for imports and 13.4% for exports.
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 2.4 billion euro, is an important contributor to the Flemish trade surplus. Agro-industrial products also show a positive balance of 1.9 billion euro. In addition, other produce and arable produce have trade surpluses of 1.4 billion euro and 1.3 billion euro respectively. For horticultural products, there is a smaller trade surplus of 57 million euro, mainly due to the import of exotic fruits and fruit juices.
Approximately 60% of trade involves neighbouring countries
Flemish agricultural trade mainly involves the neighbouring countries. In 2019, the neighbouring countries had a share of 58% in total imports and 63% in total exports. 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 699 million euro. However, agricultural trade surpluses were recorded with the United States (151 million euro), China (304 million euro) and Russia (207 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.
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.