European Imports of Horticultural Products
|European Union demand for imports of horticultural products from third countries continues to be strong. Increasing disposable income has resulted in larger imports of off- season fresh fruits and cut flowers. The United States remains a principal third country supplier of certain commodities, maintaining a 30 percent market share for raisins, a 40 percent market share for dried deciduous fruits, a 30 percent market share for hops, a 25 percent market share for beer and a 60 percent market share for potato flakes and meal. Wine was the most dramatic import growth item with the value of imports from the United States rising from $50 million in 1993 to $277 million in 1998.|
European Union (EU) imports of horticultural products have increased steadily since 1993. Imports from third countries increased by 42 percent by value from $13.2 billion in 1993 to $18.7 billion in 1998, while intra trade increased by 59 percent from $25 billion to$48 billion.
The primary importing countries were Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom (UK) and France. The leading third country suppliers during this period were Turkey, the United States, South Africa, Brazil and Thailand.
During the six years from 1993 to 1998, EU imports of horticultural products from the United States grew 74 percent from $1.4 billion to $2.4 billion. Most of this growth was due to increased demand for wine, tree nuts, and fruit and vegetable juices.
Exchange rates appear to have had a minimal but favorable effect on EU imports of U.S. products, making imports less expensive than similar domestic commodities. The United States remained competitive with Turkey and South Africa despite greater volatility in those countries currencies.
Tree nuts, fresh citrus fruit, wine, fruit and vegetable juices, and apples and pears accounted for over 37 percent of EU imports from third countries in 1998, up from 30 percent in 1993. In 1993 imports of these five groups accounted for 46 percent of horticultural imports from the United States. This figure rose to 56 percent in 1996, due to large shipments of tree nuts, but fell back to 53 percent in 1998.
The single largest horticultural import item is bananas, with import values fluctuating between $2 billion and $2.5 billion. Bananas account for over 10 percent of the EUs horticultural imports from third countries during the 1993-1998 period. Apples are the second largest import item ranging from $352 million to $607 million. Nearly 85 percent of the apples enter during the off-season and are supplied by South Africa, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina. Perhaps the single most important growth item is wine, which rose from $430 million in1993 to over $1.5 billion in 1998. The U.S. market share increased from 11 percent in 1993 to 18 percent in 1998.
The phenomenal growth in EU imports of wine is almost entirely accounted for by retail table wine shipped into the United Kingdom. In the last 30 years, per capita consumption of wine in the UK has tripled and currently is about 15 liters per year. This per capita consumption figure suggests that there is room for more growth. By comparison, the per capita demand for wine is three times that level in France at 60 liters, in Spain at 50 liters, and in Italy at 50 liters.
Imports from other European countries account for 70 to 75 percent of the UKs total wine imports. The United States is the second largest non-European supplier accounting for about 20 percent of the total arrivals from third countries. Australia is the largest non-European country supplier accounting for about 38 percent of the third country imports. However, Australian wines have become relatively more expensive over the last few years and their market share has been constant.
EU imports of tree nuts from third countries increased by 60 percent since 1993. Most of this growth is accounted for by hazelnuts, which increased by $276 million, and almonds, which increased by $208 million. The U.S. market share for tree nuts imports rose from 31 percent in 1993 to 34 percent in 1998. The United States accounts for two thirds of EU almond imports and 97 percent of third country supplies. The quantity of almonds imported into the EU rose even though almonds are typically more expensive than hazelnuts and the unit price increased steadily between 1993 and 1998.
Third country imports account for over 75 percent of the EU total raisin imports. The U.S. market share, by value, for raisins increased four percent between 1993 and 1998 to reach 30 percent of total third country imports. This increase occurred because of a strong demand for high quality U.S. product.
The quantity of raisins imported from the United States increased 16 percent rising from 50 to 58 thousand tons while the price rose 19 percent from 1,350 ecu/mt to 1,600 ecu /mt. The United States maintained its value market share at the expense of Australia whose share declined from 13 to 4 percent. Turkey increased its value market share by 13 percent, but its price dropped by 10 percent.
For more information contact Robert Knapp, 202-7204629