The openness of the EU’s trade regime means Europe is one of the biggest players in global trade and one of the most attractive markets with which to do business. 

This is particularly true when it comes to the agriculture and food sector. Exports of agricultural products from the EU to rest of the world in 2017 were worth a total of almost EUR 138 billion, up 5.1% from 2016. Foodstuffs made up 56% of these exports, vegetables 22% and animal products - 22%. 

In the Middle East, trade between the EU and the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is evolving, changing and growing. Informal discussions on an EU-GCC Free Trade Agreement began in May 2017 and are moving towards a more formal implementation. Exports of EU agri-food products to Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in 2017 amounted to EUR 8.8 billion. In particular, Saudi Arabia was the 8th biggest export destination for EU agro-food products in 2017, receiving agricultural products worth over EUR 4 million.

Given the high quality, stringent safety standards and authentic flavours of the food and drink that Europe has to offer, there is a lot of potential to increase Europe’s trade in foodstuffs to the Middle East region.