12 Oct AGRIFOOD MONITOR 2018: THE CHALLENGES FOR THE ITALIAN AGRI-FOOD IN EUROPE (BUT ALSO IN CANADA)
The Centro Studi Italia Canada followed the Agrifood Monitor 2018 Forum, the annual event dedicated to the Italian agro-food chain. At the center of the debate of the III edition of the Forum: Brexit and Poland, Italian export and overseas perception of Made in Italy, sensitive issues for the sector in all market contexts, including trade relations between Italy and Canada.
The Italian agri-food exports is among the key factors of our economy, a sector that has always been characterized by high and recognized quality of its products, also constantly monitored by the Centro Studi Italia Canada for the positive development of trade with Canada. The annual appointment, organized by Nomisma in partnership with CRIF at the Palazzo di Varignana in Bologna, of the Forum Agrifood Monitor, is now dedicated to the picture of the state of the Italian food chain and the possible scenarios that can take place in different market contexts. This year at its third edition. In 2017 at the center of the conference were awareness and perception of the made in Italy agro-food industry in the USA and Canada. The 2018 edition, to which the Centro Studi Italia Canada took part, was instead dedicated to Brexit and Poland.
The two European markets analyzed are structurally very different: Poland can be defined as an emerging or strategic market, while Great Britain is a mature market for Made in Italy, both for the actual spending capacity, thanks to the high income per capita available, both for the economic and geographic structure, making it the sixth market in the world for agri-food import. With a value of over 3 billion euro, Great Britain is the fourth destination market for Italian food exports and has grown by 43% in the 2007-2017 decade, driven by fruit and vegetables, pasta and prosecco in particular, which is the first target market.
Despite the positive trend in the UK market, the scenario has become uncertain waiting for the definition, following the Brexit, of the negotiations that will end on 29 march. The representative of the British government, Ken O’Flaherty, Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy, showed confidence at the round table organized by the Agri-food Forum, recalling that “the White Paper sets out the proposals and intentions of the government, and as the latter wants to protect supply chains and to simplify customs procedures, as opposed to isolationist solutions. ”
THE CHALLENGES FOR THE ITALIAN FOOD AGRICULTURE: PROTECTION OF TRADEMARKS AND REDUCTION OF THE ITALIAN SOUNDING
The fact is that, as claimed by Paolo De Castro, chair of the European parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, “it will be necessary to establish the future perimeter of protection following 44 years of regulatory compliance. So, the great unknown factor is the lack of the principle of Community preference and the loss of protection afforded by Community legislation “, in particular the recognition of quality and origin brands, considering that ” Italian IG and PDO products end up in England about a billion of our exports, or a third of the total “ as underlined by Denis Pantini, Nomisma’s Area Agro-Food Manager.
The subject concerning Italian IG and PDO is at the center of the debate of the Italian agro-food chain, also regarding to trade between Canada and Italy, however bearing in mind that CETA recognizes 41 of the over 290 brands of Italian origin that correspond to 98% of the value of PDO and GI exports in Canada. The issue is particularly important for the experts, since the brands certify production and processing of products, ensuring the protection of the production chain and the excellence of the Bel Paese and of course the reduction of the Italian sounding phenomenon in the country of destination.
REGULATORY SOLUTIONS AND COMPANY PROTECTION
Possible solutions to the phenomenon discussed Rebecca Halford-Harrison (Keystone Law) and Claudio Perrella (LS Lexjus Sinacta) illustrating the institutional-regulatory measures, such as the signing of commercial agreements that grant recognition of trademarks of origin, and those by “corporate nature”, through registration, according to local law, as also witnessed by Riccardo Deserti, Director Consortium Protection of Parmigiano Reggiano, which in recent months has obtained the registration of the brands (parmesan and parmigiano reggiano).
A reasoning that even the Centro Studi Italia Canada has repeatedly carried out, with regards to the fight against Italian souding in Canada, which can be eliminated through concrete actions as provided by CETA. It should however be noted that, despite the spread on the shelves of false made in Italy, albeit with the limits imposed by the agreements, as is the case of CETA, the sale of Italian excellences continues to grow unexpectedly, demonstrating an increase in awareness and knowledge in Canada (and elsewhere) of Made in Italy. The campaigns launched against the spread of the Italian sounding and the battles fought in defense of the quality of Italian products have had their effect: today even those who are not Italian are learning to be wary of imitations and to recognize the original.
*Researcher at Centro Studi Italia Canada