Fruit and vegetable imports from North African countries having impact on the European sector

Spanish fruit and vegetable imports from the six southern Mediterranean countries with which the European Commission has association agreements in force (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia) have all grown, except those of Lebanon, from where no fruit and vegetables have been imported. The most notable growth has been achieved by Morocco, with fruit and vegetable imports that have gone from 151,059 tons in 2009 to 399,519 tons; a 164% increase. Imports from Egypt have gone from 1,189 tons to 21,129 tons; 1,667% more, and Spanish imports of fruits and vegetables from Algeria have gone from 156 tons in 2009 to 3,067 tons in 2018, thus growing by 1,866%. Exports from Tunisia have stabilized, going from 4,176 tons in 2009 to 4,207 tons in 2018.

Meanwhile, Spanish exports of fruits and vegetables to these six countries have fallen in most cases, and in other cases, the volumes shipped are very small, as revealed by the analysis of the past ten years. In the case of exports to Algeria and Tunisia, they have both declined. Exports to Algeria have dropped from 28,402 tons in 2009 to 4,342 tons in 2018, according to data from the Spanish Department of Customs and Special Taxes, processed by FEPEX. In the case of Tunisia, they have fallen from 2,014 tons in 2009 to 573 tons in 2018. In the case of Egypt, they have increased, totaling 21,129 tons, and in the case of Jordan, they have gone from 6 tons to 34 tons.

Within the EU, and according to Eurostat data, there has been a growth in imports from all the countries analyzed, with the exception of Jordan. Morocco stands out the most, having gone from 895,727 tons in 2009 to 1.3 million tons in 2018; a 52% growth. It is followed by Egypt, from where the EU imported a total of 723,694 tons of fruit and vegetables in 2018; 40% more than in 2009. As for EU imports from Tunisia, they have grown by 7%, totaling 93,550 tons; those of Algeria have increased by 220%, totaling 27,832 tons, and those from Lebanon have grown by 56%, standing at 855 tons.

For FEPEX, the increasing liberalization of fruit and vegetable imports from countries in the southern Mediterranean is already having a significant impact on the European sector, given the notable difference between the EU's regulatory framework in social, environmental and economic areas and that of the countries of the southern Mediterranean.



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