In 2017 Belgium exported 202,494 tonnes of beef or 10.3% more than in 2016. Also in the long term beef exports are rising: for the last 5 year the compound annual growth rate amounted to 6.8%. The vast majority of Belgian beef, namely 90%, goes to countries within the European Union. Exports within the Union rose by 8.6%, those to third countries by 27.5%.
Intra-EU: Top 3 is maintained
Belgian beef remains especially popular among our neighboring countries. As in 2016, the following countries remain the most important export markets for Belgian beef:
1. The Netherlands: 71 716 tonnes pw (2017); + 18% compared to 2016; 10.1% compound annual growth as from 2012.
2. France: 39 967 tonnes pw (2017); + 0.9% compared to 2016; 0.9% compound annual growth compared as from 2012.
3. Germany: 32 390 tonnes pw (2017); + 10.6% compared to 2016; 3.9% compound annual growth compared as from 2012.
Italy, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Luxembourg, Greece, the United Kingdom and Spain complete the top 10. Moreover, beef exports to these countries increase or remain relatively stable.
Beef exports to West Africa continue to grow
On the African continent, Ghana and Ivory Coast are the main buyers of Belgian beef. Ghana imported 7,674 tonnes pw in 2017, of which 73% meat and 27% offal. This is 42.3% more than in 2016. Ivory Coast imported 6 090 tonnes pw or 23.4% more than in 2016, of which 57% meat and 43% offal. In the same region, exports to Guinea continue to grow, although for the time being the country remains a relatively small market. Exports amounted to 841 tonnes pw in 2017 and the compound annual growth rate of the last 5 years is 48,1%.
Asia: the Philippines and Hong Kong are the most important markets
Hong Kong and the Philippines are now in place 12 and 13 in terms of export destinations for Belgian beef. Exports to Hong Kong amounted to 1 385 tonnes pw in 2017 or an increase of 297.8% compared to 2016. In the longer term, the growth figures are a little bit less spectacular, namely + 9.2% (CAGR) as from 2012. Belgian mainly exports meat (73%) to this market and to a smaller extent (27%) offal. The export of beef to the Philippines amounted to 1 380 tonnes pw in 2017 or 3.6% more than the year before. As from 2012, the compound annual growth rate is 128.4%. 79% of the exports contain meat and 21% offal.