Italian exporting dairy companies are to suffer the consequences of a trade war they have not contributed in any way to trigger. This is what Italy’s dairy producers association Assolatte said yesterday at the hearing on US tariffs held at the Agriculture Committee of Italy’s Chamber of Deputies. According to Assolatte, among EU countries Italy will pay the highest bill after the four member states that have received subsidies for Airbus (France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain).
DUTIES AFFECTING THE DAIRY SECTOR
All Italian products affected by US duties are part of the food & beverage sector, and following Assolatte estimates this situation will generate additional cost of 117 million dollars for exporters. About 60 million of these will be borne by the exporting dairy companies. “With 51% of the total – said Giuseppe Ambrosi, president of Assolatte – our sector is the most affected considering Italian F&B.”
Duties will hit exporters above all, that is to say on companies that through their investments, commitment and initiative have made the United States the first exports destination outside the EU, for a value that is close to 300 million euros. “If we really want to support our exports to the USA – Ambrosi clarified – it is necessary that immediate actions focus first of all on exporting companies. Today they fear having to ‘sell off’ their cheeses to cope with the increase in tariffs and survive in the American market. Resources must therefore be concentrated on dairy exporting companies that export. This is the only way to avoid crises in the sector.”
BETWEEN UNCERTAINTY AND ACTIONS
According to Assolatte, support from Italy’s national institutions could take the form of systematic promotions in US distribution chains and specialty stores – such as cheese boutiques, that may no longer sell Italian cheeses because of the price increases caused by additional duties of 25% – and intensifying educational actions, to allow American consumers to distinguish authentic Italian dairy products from local counterfeiting.
After the Russian embargo and US duties, Italian dairy exporting companies are now facing the uncertainty of Brexit. A negative downturn already occurred in 2018, when UK dairy sales fell by 8%. “Thanks to the new investments made by our companies – concluded Ambrosi – the first months of this year are showing signs of growth, but we are still concerned about the future of the dairy sector.”