US duties: Made in Italy at risk

The ‘cold war’ on trade could have a significant impact on the food sector. The United States is the third largest Italian food buyer, after Germany and France

The trade war with the United States could put at risk 40.5 billion of Made in Italy exports, which in 2017 reached an all-time high with an increase of 9.8% compared to the previous year. This is what emerges from a Coldiretti analysis on Istat data. The exemption period of duties to the European Union on steel and aluminium has been extended for a month but a future failure could trigger an escalation, starting with the announced EU countermeasures: from maize to rice, from bourbon to orange juice and peanut butter, and much more.

Effects on exports

Tensions have already had some effects in the first quarter of 2018, when there was a slowdown (+0.3%) in Italian exports to the United States compared to last year. The United States remains by far the main reference market for Made in Italy outside the European Union, with a significant impact for the agri-food sector. But the new ‘America First’ strategy seems to have already caused its first damages, with an aggressive monetary policy that could cost dearly considering that food and drink exports are increasing by 6% in 2017 for a total of about 4 billion euros. It is the best result of all time. The United States ranks third among the main Italian food buyers after Germany and France, and before Great Britain. Wine is the most loved product by the Americans, followed by oil, cheese, and pasta.

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