Trends

Italian food exports to China set a record

Italian food export sales to the Asian giant grew by 18% last year exceeding 460 million euros, according to Coldiretti estimates based on Istat data

Italian food exports to China are skyrocketing. In 2017, Made in Italy products sales increased by 18% exceeding 460 million euros in value. This is what Coldiretti estimates on Istat data, on the occasion of the opening of the EU-China Tourism Year. Last year, as many as 1.4 million Chinese tourists visited Italy, which is considered a safer country than other destinations as well as a place where to discover a huge offer of foods including 292 PDO and PGI products, 523 AOC, DOC, and IGT wines in addition to 5,047 traditional food specialties.

Tourism and food

The Year of Italian food in the World, however, starts with 44% of Italian agri-food exports to China led by the typical products of the Mediterranean diet: wine, with 120 million euros export sales, grows by 21% in the Asian country; olive oil, with over 40 million euros sales, grows by 41%, whereas cheeses increase by 34% and pasta grows by 20% reaching 23 million euros. These positive data also show a tendency towards a progressive rebalancing of the agri-food trade balance given that in 2017, in the face of an export boom, Italian imports from China decreased by 10% to 570 million euros.

An open market

These important results came in the same year when the Chinese government removed the ban on Italian beef and cut by about half import duties on some typical products such as Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano, and other aged cheeses as well as for Gorgonzola, grated and melted cheese, wine spirits, vermouth, pasta, sausages, and salami. Last October, Chinese authorities ordered the removal of the blockade for Italian blue cheeses which had been decided at the end of August due to a sudden tightening in the application of the rules on imports from the European Union. In May 2017 there had already been the decision to open the Asian giant market to Italian lemons, oranges, and tangerines.