MILAN, Mar 25 (Class Editori) -The Italy-China memorandum offers great opportunities for exporting the "Made In Italy" food and agriculture excellences, such as citrus fruits and pig meat. Italian exports in the agri-food sector have increased from 26 to 41 billion euros worldwide, but to this day the Chinese market represents only 1%.
As for the Italian agri-food import from China, Italian imports are considerably higher than exports to the Chinese market. Over 60% of imports result from fresh and processed vegetables, worth around 120 million euros, and seafood, with an additional 98 million euros.
We must take into account that the agreements are endorsed by the EU and bring a competitive advantage not only to Italy but to the entire European agri-food sector, in fact we estimate double-digit growth for all our products. It is fundamental to take advantage of this opportunity in a concrete way and as a unit, enhancing Italian excellence with increasing strength.
I hope that the memorandum can be a first concrete step towards opening up to a large market, in terms of size and potential, such as the Chinese market. However at this stage it is essential that our quality products are protected against imitations such as those of Italian Sounding, through the inclusion of rules and laws. The theme of protection is central for Confagricoltura, which has long been committed to working on recognisability but also on the rules that regulate exchanges between countries.
Italy does not currently export much in the segments of pig meat and citrus fruit. According to the latest Ismeamercati data, the Italy-China agri-food trade balance was positive (+54.4 million euros in 2018). Also in 2017 the balance of trade items was positive (+35 million euros). In 2016, by contrast, a deficit occurred.
However Istat data give us a different perspective, as they include the export of wool from China to Italy. If we take Istat as a reference, therefore, the trade balance is negative (around -150 million).
In terms of product relevance, Italian agri-food exports are mainly based on wine, which is the main agri-food product exported to China to this day, with a value of over 120 million euros. The wine sector is crucial for the Italian agri-food industry and it's one of the reasons why Confagricoltura will be present at Vinitaly 2019, scheduled for early April.
* edited by President of Confagricoltura Massimiliano Giansanti
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