European Union - Agricultural SectorEuropean Union - Agricultural Sector
Bilateral agricultural trade between the United States and the EU totaled $37 billion in 2016, making the EU the fourth largest export market for U.S. agricultural products after China, Canada, and Mexico. For the fifteenth year in a row, the U.S. has run a trade deficit in agriculture with the EU with a gap of $7.7 billion in 2016. The main U.S. products exported to the EU by value are tree nuts ($2.6 billion), soybeans ($1.9 billion), forest products ($1.3 billion), fish and fish products ($1 billion), distilled spirits ($655 million), wine and beer ($755 million), and prepared foods ($580 million).
Global branding and further integration of European markets is continuing to produce a more homogeneous food and drink market in Europe although significant national differences in consumption remain. Nevertheless, certain common trends are evident throughout the EU: demand for greater convenience, more openness to non-traditional foods, and a growing interest in health foods, organics and niche markets. For a thorough analysis of what commodities and products offer the best opportunities, access FAS/USEU and consult Brussels’ and the individual Member States' Food and Agricultural Import
Regulation and Standards (FAIRS) Reports.
FAIRS Certification Report
Phytosanitary Certificates: Phytosanitary certificates are required for most fresh fruits, vegetables, and other plant materials.
Sanitary Certificates: For commodities composed of animal products or by-products, EU countries require that shipments be accompanied by a certificate issued by the competent authority of the exporting country. This applies regardless of whether the product is for human consumption, for pharmaceutical use, or strictly for non-human use (e.g., veterinary biologicals, animal feeds, fertilizers, research). The vast majority of these certificates are uniform throughout the EU but the harmonization process is still ongoing. Most recently, certificates for a series of highly processed products including chondroitin sulphate, hyaluronic acid, hydrolyzed cartilage products, chitosan, glucosamine, rennet, isinglass and amino acids have been harmonized. In addition to the legally required EU health certificates, a number of other certificates are used in international trade. These certificates, which may also be harmonized in EU legislation, certify origin for customs purposes and certain quality attributes. Up-to-date information on harmonized import documentation can be found at the following website: FAIRS Export Certificate Report.
The establishment of harmonized EU rules and standards in the food sector has been ongoing for several decades, but it took until January 2002 for the publication of a general food law establishing the general principles of EU food law. This Regulation introduced mandatory traceability throughout the feed and food chain as of Jan 1, 2005. For specific information on agricultural standards, please refer to the Foreign Agricultural Service's website.
There are also export guides to import regulations and standards available on the Foreign Agricultural Service's website.
European Union 28 Agribusiness Trade Development and Promotion