The association also highlighted the balance of trade and the behaviour of sales to the USA, in a statement.

As maintained by APCOR “the trade balance exceeded €900 million for the 3rd consecutive year, having reached €938 million”, due “to a coverage rate of imports by exports of 4.2 times”, which the association considers “a solid performance”, also stressing “the importance and competitiveness of the sector in the international market”.

APCOR indicated that “exports to the USA grew to €214 million, having surpassed the €200 million barrier for the first time in history”.

This market secured second place “in the hierarchy after France and ahead of Spain, Italy and Germany”.

The association revealed that “cork stoppers continue to be the main exported product in terms of value, having increased by 2.1 percent and exceeding €900 million for the first time”.

“As a sector that exports more than 90 percent of its production, the international situation continues to be a preponderant factor in our performance, with the sector not being immune to the adjustment of supply chains and the significant halt in demand. This fact was evident throughout the year, marked by a first quarter of strong growth and the remaining quarters of balance with the same periods of the previous year”, explained João Rui Ferreira, secretary of APCOR.

APCOR pointed out “the fact that cork is a unique material from the point of view of its technical and environmental credentials” and “has a clear preference among preference among professionals and consumers”, among other advantages.

“Despite the current situation, we face the future with optimism. In a strategic sector for the country, in different dimensions of sustainability: environmental, economic, and social, in order to consolidate global leadership, it will be necessary to quickly reinforce and activate international promotion programs, as well as continue the technological development of the sector”, concluded the secretary of the association.