Spain’s Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, has highlighted the growing potential of foreign trade, one of the main driving forces of the dynamic agri-food and fisheries sector.
It is precisely the importance of foreign trade and the need to have relevant information on it that has led the ministry to develop a new tool that enables intuitive and interactive access to data on exports and imports in the agri-food and fisheries sector.
At the presentation of this tool, already available in the “Analysis and Statistics” area of the Spanish Ministry’s website, Luis Planas pointed out that this initiative will be of great use to the sector as a whole and is a reflection of Spain’s General State Administration policies of transparency and access to information.
The tool allows the monitoring of agri-food foreign trade, previously achieved with the monthly and annual export reports, but with greater scope and depth. The programme allows not just a selection of the data to be displayed, but also their classification, relation, graphic interpretation and further analysis as required by the user. In short, allowing industry professionals to select the information they are most interested in and extract further reading from it.
In his speech, the minister highlighted the importance of Spain’s agri-food sector, the fourth largest agri-food power in the EU and a world leader in products such as olive oil, pork, citrus fruits and wine, and one of the largest suppliers of fresh fruit and vegetables to Europe. It is sector of great social and economic importance that contributes around 11% of our country’s GDP and generates 2.8 million jobs.
He also highlighted the value of the Spanish fishing sector, with more than 8,000 vessels, making Spain’s the largest fleet in the European Union, and more than 5,000 aquaculture establishments.
Foreign trade in agri-foods
With regard to foreign trade, he stressed the continuous increases in the figures for exports and the principal balance over the last ten years, reaching record year-on-year figures. Thus, in 2010 the value of exports was around €28 billion and in the last rolling year (until May 2021) it rose to €55 billion.
Planas pointed out that this positive trend was maintained even in 2020 when, despite the pandemic, the performance of agri-food and fisheries foreign trade was positive, and better than that of the economy as a whole. This year, exports of the Spanish economy as a whole decreased by 10.2 % compared to 2019, while the agri-food sector increased by 4.1 %, reaching €53,848 million, with a trade balance of €18,693 million (+25.8 % over 2019).
To support the international projection of the agri-food sector, the ministry works together with the sector in aspects such as the opening of new markets, the promotion of products, the simplification of administrative procedures, support for exporters at destination and the analysis and dissemination of foreign trade data for the main sectors.
In this respect, he stressed the importance of establishing trade agreements with third countries to open up new markets, such as Korea, Canada, Japan and Singapore. He also valued the EU agreement with the United Kingdom, which guarantees access to both markets free of tariffs and quotas, which will allow us to maintain export trade flows of our agri-food products. He also welcomed the agreement reached with the United States to suspend additional tariffs arising from the Airbus and Boeing cases for five years.
In this context, he stressed the need to be demanding with imports, as any product imported into the EU must have the same requirements in terms of food safety, the environment, animal welfare and the use of plant protection products similar to those produced within the EU.