RIGA - The Latvian exports of food, agricultural and fish products last year increased by EUR 464.4 million or 21.3 percent compared to 2016, according to the report on foreign trade in 2017 prepared by the Agriculture Ministry based on the Eurostat data.
Food, agricultural and fish products accounted for 21.6 percent or the largest share of total Latvian exports in 2017, according to the Eurostat data.
The value of food, agricultural and fish product exports last year increased more steeply than the value of imports which rose 19.2 percent or EUR 428.6 million. The foreign trade balance of food, agricultural and fish products remained negative in 2017.
Exports to other EU member states made up 55 percent of Latvian exports of food, agricultural and fish products in 2017 while 45 percent were exported to third countries. Exports to third countries in terms of money grew 32 percent compared to 2016 but exports to the EU increased 13.8 percent.
Last year Latvia exported food, agricultural and fish products to altogether 153 countries around the world. Russia was the most significant destination for Latvian products, receiving 23 percent of total export value. The value of exports to Russia grew 58 percent compared to 2016.
Russia also was the key foreign trade partner for Latvia among third countries, receiving 52 percent of total value of Latvian food, agricultural and fish products exported to third countries. Saudi Arabia was in the second place but Latvian exports to Saudi Arabia were nine times lower than exports to Russia.
Last year Latvia exported its food, agricultural and fish products to all 27 EU member states, sending the largest amounts to Lithuania (30 percent of the total value) and Estonia (19.2 percent). Among the ten largest trade partners in the EU, the steepest increase in exports was observed in Belgium - 2.5 times compared to 2016.
Soft drinks and alcoholic drinks were the key Latvian export products, accounting for 29 percent of the total value of food, agricultural and fish product exports in 2017, followed by grain products with 15.7 percent and milk, dairy products and eggs with 10 percent.