The deficit of the balance of trade in agri-foodstuffs in the seven months of this year narrowed by 81.7 percent down to 55.1 million euros as compared to Jan.-July 2013, when it hit 301.8 million euros, show figures supplied by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to AGERPRES on Friday. “The strong contraction of the trade deficit was the result of the sustained increase in exports both to the European Union market and to non-EU countries, amid a lower pace of advance of the imports”, the ministry explained. In the seven months of 2014, Romania shipped 2.68 billion euros worth of agri-foodstuffs, by 303 million euros or 12.7 percent more than in the same period last year, while the imports grew by 56.3 million euros (plus 2.1 pct) against the seven months of 2013. Shipments to the EU countries totalled 1.674 billion euros by end-July, posting a 14.2 percent rise from the same period a year ago, while Romanian exports to non-EU states totalled one billion euros, a 10.4 percent increase. The European Union was the top agricultural trade partner of Romania, with agri-foodstuff deliveries to the bloc accounting for 62.4 percent in the seven months, while purchases from the EU states held a 80.9 percent share, the ministry said.