A string of trade deficits by European food and drink producers was reversed in 2005 thanks to a rise of 5.2% in exports – the best performance since 2000, says the EU Confederation of Food and Drink Industries (CIAA).

In its annual report CIAA says the US was the biggest customer for European food taking 22% of the EUR47.6bnn(US$7.62bn) of exports but Russia overtook Japan to become number two. Sales to China rose by 24% to EUR800m. The CIAA says that exports have risen further by 14% in the first four months of 2006.