From the Field: In-Market Representative Reports – December 2020

December 2020 monthly update from our global network of In-Market Representatives about what's going on in markets around the world.

Food Export – Midwest and Food Export – Northeast have developed a network of uniquely experienced 19 overseas In-Market Representatives around the globe.  These local marketing experts with food industry experience provide on-the-ground help in assisting Food Export – Midwest and Food Export – Northeast to implement our various programs and services.   

In addition, through regular trade servicing, these local representatives are aware of issues, trends and opportunities for international buyers to connect with suppliers of U.S. agricultural and food products.  Every month we will share with you some of the top market information from the trade servicing reports we receive to help you better your international exporting efforts. 


The trade conflict between the U.S. and the EU in regards to Boeing (USA) and Airbus (EU) enters the next stage with the EU announcing new penalty tariffs with a value of USD 4 billion. However, generally the EU seems eager to end these trade disputes and reboot its relationship with the U.S.  The new tariffs include a wide range of agricultural products which will face an additional 25% in import duties making it nearly impossible to compete within the EU. 

Seafood Update

For the Seafood market in Spain, there are fluctuations in consumption since it is clear that the restaurant sector has drastically reduced its flow and this has not been fully offset by the purchases that consumers make in other channels. Retailers are making a strong commitment to maintain their supplies, while at the same time they are modernizing online shopping systems for consumers. Online shopping platforms have been streamlined, hence, categories of frozen food have experienced a sharp increase in consumption. Restaurants are making the effort to enter the food delivery segment.



According to a recent report from Deloitte, the food and beverages sectors have managed to rebound quickly from the impacts of COVID-19 during brief windows of opportunity. Since the easing of large-scale social restrictions of Penbatasan Sosial Berskala Besar (PSBB) in mid-June 2020 which permitted consumers to dine in at restaurants, restaurants in the Greater Jakarta Area saw their number of visits soar by 35% and 54% in July and August respectively.

A similar trend can also be observed in other large cities across Indonesia, such as Makassar, Medan, Surabaya and Denpasar. Nevertheless, the full extent of the impact of the re-implementation of PSBB in Jakarta in early Sept 2020 – which allows restaurants and cafes to serve takeout only – on the sector remains to be seen.




According to the Japan Foodservice Association, nationwide sales in October decreased by 5.7% from the same month of the previous year, the seventh consecutive month of decline. This follows a drop of 14% in September versus the same period prior year. Due to the recent resurgence in COVID cases, restaurants in major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka are being asked by local governments to close earlier than normal and to restrict operating hours. Hotels, banqueting and related hospitality sectors continue to experience significant damage from the pandemic.



The ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced many aspects of life for Mexican residents. One interesting effect is the increase in frequency of food delivery, with 75.6% of Mexican consumers ordering food in June, according to OOH. Uber Eats business in Mexico also recently grew 113% due to COVID-19.


SK Telecom, a leading telecommunication company in South Korea, announced in November that it signed a partnership agreement with to offer all Amazon products in its online shopping platform, SK Telecom said that Korean consumers can purchase Amazon products on the site for easy personal direct imports as the platform will take care of shipping and customs paperwork.


The UK has extended their lockdown but with some modifications.  Currently, Tier 2 applies to 32 million people and includes a Christmas bubble that will allow three households to visit each other between December 23-27. Gyms, entertainment venues and sports stadiums are permitted to open but capacity is reduced to attempt social distancing. Hairdressers and non-essential shops (those other than food stores) are also allowed to open. Pubs, restaurants and bars may open but serving alcohol is prohibited unless with a substantial meal. Bar snacks alone do not count as a meal. Diners must leave the premises following eating. People are asked to continue to work from home if possible. Schools, universities and nurseries continue to operate along with essential services such as supermarkets and pharmacies.


It is estimated that in October 2020, import turnover of goods reached US$ 24.5 billion, up 1.2% over the previous month and 10.1% over the same period last year. Generally, in 10 months of 2020, import turnover of goods was estimated at US$ 210.55 billion, up .4% over the same period last year. In the first 10 months of 2020, there are 34 items with an import turnover of over US$ 1 billion accounting for 89.4% of the total import turnover.