The purpose of this paper is to analyse the competitive performance of the EU countries for food trade in the European market during the period 1990–2003. To assess such performance the analysis considers comparative advantage and evaluates three indices: export market share (EMS), revealed comparative advantage (RCA) and net export index (NEI). These three indices are found to be high in the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Spain, but only Spain has shown significant competitive performance during the last decade. Also the competitive performance of Germany and Italy is good, although their RCA and NEI values are low. Among the other countries the trend in the indices for Austria, Portugal and Sweden is on the increase.Alessandro Banterle is associate professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Economics at University of Milan. Teaching commitments include Food Safety and Quality Economics at University of Milan and Agricultural Policy at University of Brescia.