Confrontation between Italy and Spain concerning foreign trade

CSO-Centro Servizi Ortofrutticoli in Ferrara updated 2013 data concerning Italian foreign trade. Exports reached 3.6 million tons (-8% with respect to 2012) for a total of €3.8 billion (+4%).

In the same year, Spanish produce exports increased by 11% in terms of volumes, reaching 11.8 million tons and €11.7 billion (+7%).

Fresh fruit
Italian fresh fruit exports dropped by 10%, however, the average annual price reached €1.01/kg (the highest of the past few years), so the total value was more or less that of 2012 (€2.5 million).

It seems that everything that Italy lost was gained by Spain, as its exports increased by 4.5% in terms of volume (7.1 million tons) and 11% in terms of value (€6.35 billion).

The main destination for Italian fresh fruit is Germany, however quantities have dropped from 42% in 2002 to 28% to 2012. France (10%), Spain (7%) and Poland (6%) follow. Exports to Russia and Switzerland (3%) remained stable and there was a slight increase in North Africa (Libya 3% and Algeria 2%).

Table grapes were the most exported fruit, with a 4% increase with respect to 2012, while there was a decrease in exports of pears (-40% due to the productive deficit), kiwis (-3%) and strawberries (-14%). Plums (+28%) and apricots (+34%) did well. 

If we consider Spain in particular, Italy exported mainly apples (+11%), kiwis (+5%) and table grapes (+15%) whereas there was a 23% drop in peach/nectarine exports.

The balance is positive, though it is slightly lower than in 2012. Exports reached 1.1 million tons and €1.3 billion.

Citrus fruit
Citrus fruit exports reflect fresh fruit exports: volumes (235,000 tons) dropped by 9% but prices reached €0.77/kg (the highest price of the last few years) so the value reached over €180 billion (+11%).

Despite this, Italy imported more than it exported, from Spain in particular. Over 60% of the produce bought by Italy in 2012-13 comes from Spain.

Fresh vegetables
Italian vegetable exports dropped by 1% reaching 930,000 tons. In this case too though, the average price was rather high at €1.23% (+11%).

Spain increased its vegetable exports by 10%, reaching 4.6 million tons for a total value of €4.33 billion (+11%).

While Italian fresh fruit imports come mainly from countries in the Southern hemisphere (counterseasonal and exotic fruit and bananas), Italy imports its vegetables mainly from France (34% of the total) and Spain (18%) followed by Germany (17%) and the Netherlands (11-12%).

From Spain, Italy imported mainly salad (+29%) and garlic (+23%), whereas the imports of peppers and tomatoes dropped by 7%.

In general, the situation is rather mixed: in terms of volume, the situation looks worse than in 2012, as Italy imported over 299,000 tons of vegetables more than it exported, however, the balance is positive in terms of value with exports totalling €372 billion more than imports.

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