An important partner for both exports and imports
According to Eurostat data, referring to pre-Covid levels, the European agri-food exports amounted to a total of approximately 84 billion euros/year. The main exporters are the Netherlands (13 billion), Germany and France (11 billion each), followed by Italy and Spain (about 8 billion each). With more than 8 billion in value, meaning almost 10% of the total, the United States are the main destination for Food & Beverage exports from the European Union. On the other hand, the USA are also an important partner for imports: with 7 billion in value, corresponding to approximately 7% of the total, they represent the second country of origin after Brazil.
Because now it is the right time
It is the right time for those who wish to export Food & Beverage products from Europe to the United States. Last March, in fact, the Biden administration issued a four-month moratorium on the additional 25% tariffs that had been placed on many agri-food products by the previous Trump administration. It is possible that the moratorium will turn into a permanent removal but, in doubt, many US importers are stocking up on European products. Suffice it to say that demand for Italian products alone grew by 5% even during the hardest months of the pandemic. The same considerations apply to imports: if the tariffs were reintroduced, it is likely that the EU would take equivalent countervailing measures.
What you need to know (and do)
The bodies with jurisdiction over food in the United States are mainly two: the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which provides information here about its role on trade, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), that here explains its role on Food regulations. For exports from the USA to Europe, it is important to take into account the instructions provided here by the US Department of Commerce.
But what are the steps to take to export to the United States?
· Identify and understand the requirements for your product: a preparatory step to start the process correctly. Requirements for product categories are listed by the USDA.
· Register as an exporter: To prevent possible fines by the FDA, register as an exporter here.
· Identify a designated importer to handle contact with the FDA - an essential step in managing the complex documentation required on site. The FDA itself provides a list of approved agents.
· Verify proper labelling: even if the product has all the approvals and meets all the requirements, it can be blocked if the labelling does not comply with FDA regulations.
Exporting from Europe
General rules for exporting from the EU, by the European Commission:
Importing to Europe
General rules for imports into the EU, by the European Commission:
Support for SMEs
The EU also provides dedicated support to small and medium-size companies, such as often those in the F&B sector:
Trading with the United States
Country-specific information for trade from and with the United States:
A search engine to check for disputes on specific commodities:
Guide to the documentation required to import into the United States: