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Agri-food exports peak to EUR 4bn, last two decades’ record. Agriculture Minister vows to cut the VAT for meat in 2015

Romanian agri-food exports peaked to EUR 4 billion during the first nine months of 2014, a record for the last two decades, Agerpres informs, quoting a release from the Agriculture Ministry. The trade surplus has reached EUR 349 million.

According to the release, during January-September 2014, Romania’s exports amounted to EUR 3.902 billion, up by 11.2 percent as compared to the same interval in 2013, while imports grew by 1.3 percent, up to EUR 3.553 billion. The trade surplus is EUR 346.2 million higher than last year.

The wheat exports reached EUR 773.7 million (over 4 million tonnes), followed by cigars and cigarettes – EUR 499.6 million (29,700 tonnes) and corn exports – EUR 394.2 million (1.493 million tonnes).

The exports of sunflower seeds and sunflower oil dropped by EUR 74 million and EUR 26.4 million respectively, poultry exports dropped by EUR 13.4 million, while barley exports were lower by EUR 11.9 million, although exports volume increased by 128,400 tonnes.

Main imported agri-food products were pork meat, soya grit, prepared food, tobacco and pastry products.

Import increases were recorded for poultry (up by EUR 21.3 million), live swine (up by EUR 21.5 million) and chocolate (up by EUR 14.9 million). Import decreases were recorded for sugar, corn, cigarettes, milk and cream.

The main trade partner for agri-food products was the EU: exports – 59.1 percent, imports – 81.3 percent.

In 2013 Romania recorded, for the first time in twenty years, a trade surplus of some EUR 300 million in agri-food international trade (in 2012 the trade deficit was of EUR 800 million).

Agriculture Minister Daniel Constantin said Romania stands chances to conclude 2014 with a trade surplus for agri-food products, the second year in a row. “It’s the farmers’ success and we must tell them that, as they need to feel the results in their own pockets,” Constantin said.

In another development, minister Constantin told the parliamentary agriculture committees he is hopeful that, by mid 2015, depending on budget incomes, the VAT for meat will be cut down.

“We have promised to cut down the VAT for meat, and we will not hesitate to do that in 2015, even for the entire market chain for food stuff, to cut down the VAT from 24 to 9 percent,” Minister Daniel Constantin said on Tuesday.

1994 was the last year Romania recorded a trade surplus for agri-food products, until last year’s comeback.

About Alina Grigoras Butu