Pig carcasses hang in the back of a truck© Tim Scrivener

The value of EU agri-food exports reached record levels in March 2017, growing to be worth a total of €12.7bn (£10.9bn).

According to the latest figures from the European Commission, EU exports were €1.31bn (£1.1bn) or 11.3% higher than in March 2016.

Strong growth in the sales of wine and milk powders helped to drive the increase and this was enough to offset a drop, in terms of value, of wheat, oilseeds and poultry exports.

See also: UK food and drink exports reach record levels

EU agri-food trade position (March 2016 to April 2017)

  • Value of EU food exports €133.5bn (£115bn)
  • Value of EU food imports €114bn (£98bn)
  • Export surplus €19.2bn (£16.5bn)

In terms of destinations, there was a big rise in the value of exports to the US, Japan, Russia and Switzerland.

Major gains were also recorded in Korea, Hong Kong, Norway and Turkey.

Annual figures

The statistics also show in the 12 months from April 2016 to March 2017, EU agri-food exports reached a value of €133.5bn (£115bn), an increase of 3.6% in value terms compared with the same period a year earlier. 

The figures show a recovery in the export of pigmeat compared with the previous 12-month period.

They also reveal exports to the US rose by 7%, while those to China increased by 8.3%.

However, while exports were up there was also an increase in the value of imports coming into the EU from third countries.

The main sources of imported food were Brazil, the US, Argentina and China, followed by Switzerland, Turkey, Indonesia, Ukraine and Ivory Coast.