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Italy: Negative trade balance for the first seven months of 2019

The Fruitimprese processing of Istat data concerning the first seven months of the year (July 218-July 2019) revealed that, despite the increase in exported volumes (4.8%), there was a 3.3% drop in value. Imports grew when it came to both volume (2.3%) and value (12%). 

Italy is slowly becoming a net fresh produce importer in terms of both quantity (2.2 million tons against the 2 million exported) and value (€2,458,823 million against €2,446,738 million).

The consequence of this is that, for the first time, the trade balance was negative by €12 million. 

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Exported volumes reveal a slight increase in vegetables (1.5%), fresh fruit (10%) and dried fruit (15%) with a drop in citrus fruit (-11.3%). As for the turnover, the sign was positive for vegetables (1.7%) and dried fruit (3%) and negative for citrus fruit (-7.5%) and fresh fruit (-7.7%). 

When it comes to the produce imported, there was a growth in the volume of vegetables (4.7%), fresh fruit (6.8%), dried fruit (19.2%) and citrus fruit (1.2%) and a drop for tropical fruit (-6%). In terms of turnover, it increased for vegetables (32.2%), fresh fruit (0.8%), dried fruit (20.7%) and tropical fruit (5.4%) while it decreased for citrus fruit (-17.3%).

Marco Salvi, Fruitimprese president

Fruitimprese president Marco Salvi commented that "we have reached another negative record, it had never happened before. Last year, quantities imported exceeded those exported and this year it happened with value. We lost almost €400 million. The situation is very worrying, as it adds to the damage caused by the brown marmorated stink bug and other phytosanitary problems." 

"We are planning on talking to Minister Teresa Bellanova to convene the Tavolo ortofrutticolo nazionale as we need to tackle the matter immediately and find new markets for our exports."

"Minister Bellanova placed her main focus on internationalization so that our government can help businesses reach faraway markets such as China, Asia, South Africa and Mexico with high-quality productions including apples, pears, kiwifruits, table grapes and citrus fruit. These countries demand and appreciate our products but there are no phytosanitary protocols or bilateral agreements in place. If things do not change, there will be a drastic reduction in cultivated areas with a negative impact on businesses all over Italy and in the south in particular."

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