Agri‐ food Exports from Central‐ and Eastern‐European Member States of the European Union are Catching Up
Countries from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) that joined the European Union (EU) since May 2004 have recorded rapid increases in their agri‐food exports. While this increase in participation in international trade has been global, the CEE‐11 countries have mainly targeted the EU market. Poland, Hungary, Czechia and Romania are among those countries that have increased their agri‐food exports the most. We find that many CEE‐11 countries, especially Czechia and the Slovak Republic, Estonia, Hungary and Poland, have achieved their export expansion along the intensive margin, i.e. the expansion of average exports per existing product with existing trade partners. The extensive margin, i.e. an increase in the number of exported products with existing and new trade partners, along with a degree of product diversification in established markets was important for Lithuania, Romania and Estonia. We also note that in order to further benefit from an increased participation in trade, CEE countries need to switch from predominantly exporting traditional products towards penetrating more innovative product segments, along with new varieties of established products; and thus base their export expansion to a larger extent on the extensive margin.