MILAN, Feb. 12 (Class Editori) -- The coronavirus emergency is likely to halve the Italian agri-food export to China and to slow down the Made in Italy food rally in the Asian market, which doubled during the 2010-2018 period.
The chairman of Federvini and of the Masi Agricola group Sandro Boscaini said to Italia Oggi that "So far, we have not registered slowdowns, also because we collaborate with a very solid Chinese distributor, Asc Fine Wines, which keeps the stock levels of about four months. The last order was shipped at the end of January, before the emergency outbreak".
However, the measures to prevent the infection led to the cancellation of key events, such as the Great Wines of Italy in Hong Kong and the Master of Taste in Singapore. The stop of the Italian wine promotion in China risks to neutralize actions undertaken during 2018-2019 under the authority of the Ministry of Economic Development in collaboration with ICE - that were expected to be fruitful now.
Wine is the main food product exported, which worth a turnover of 155 million euros per year (11 times less than that of France) and represents almost 30 percent of the total Made in Italy exported.
With the global emergency started at the end of January it is difficult to make predictions, also because the transit times of goods toward the Far East range from 45 to 60 days. Therefore, the sector have not given any feedback yet.
That would mean a loss of Italian agri-food export to China of almost 200 million euros, if we consider that the relative annual turnover is of almost 450 million euros against imports from China of more than 600 million euros.
On top of it, the stop of the activities will affect the transport as well because of the customs offices closure. That situation, for the port of Genoa - the only one in Italy to have ships traveling to and from China - could mean a slowdown of the routes between the 18 and 25 percent during the first six months of the year.
In the fresh fruit and vegetables sector, the incoming mission of the Distretto agrumi di Sicilia, which should have brought a group of Chinese buyers and journalists to visit the red orange plants, has been canceled. "After wine, 8 percent of Italian agri-food exports to China involve cheese, even if not very consumed in China; 6 percent by oil; 5 percent by processed fruit and vegetables,” explained Marco Barbetta, head of the Cia research department, "the impact on fruit and vegetable exports is almost zero, since we can export only kiwi and citrus fruit and that, at the outbreak, the kiwi promotion was at its final stages. However, the Sistema Italia could face a decrease in numbers of tourists, which will affect restaurants in general and agritourisms in particular".
According to Confagricoltura, the epidemic will lead to a delay in the implementation of the new US-China trade agreement. It foresees an increase in US exports to Beijing of 16 billion U.S. dollars a year to reach a turnover of 80 billion U.S. dollars in 2021, with the need for the US to look for other outlet markets, where to export its products while waiting for the relaunch of Chinese purchases.
The slowdown in trade with Beijing, however, also affects imports from China, with the possibility of offering new opportunities, for example, to garlic producers who are currently importing massively from the Asian giant. (All rights reserved)
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