International trade

The trade balance of the Italian agro-industrial value chain

The Italian trade balance of agricultural and F&B products shows a structural deficit (exceeding 4 billion Euros in 2015), whereas the agrifood machinery has a positive surplus accounting for more than 5,5 billion Euros. In the last decade exports of Italian agro-industrial products and machinery have grown considerably (+79% for products, +47% for machinery); conversely, the export share has decreased, representing a clear signal of a more and more fierce competition (especially from China).

Agricultural trade

The Italian position in the international trade of agricultural products

With nearly 59 billion Dollars, China is the first worldwide import market of agricultural products, a value increased by more than 400% in a decade. Even if imports from Italy grew to an even more relevant extent in such dynamics, the share of Italy continues being marginal and lower than 1%. As for other top markets, this situation derives from a better specialization and positioning for processed food products.

Food trade

The competitive positioning of Italian food products in the international trade

Even if the overall increase of Italian food export exceeded 80% over the last decade, the share of individual F&B products on the total category decreased in several cases. This is the case of olive oil – where the Italian world export share switched from 27,4% to 24,1% – as well as preserved vegetables and fresh fruit and vegetables. The share reduction is often connected to the growing competitive positioning of international competitors, with comparative advantages related to the lower production costs or to higher organizational levels.

Agrifood machinery trade

The Italian positioning in the export of agrifood machinery

Italy represents the fourth world exporter of agricultural machinery and the second – after Germany – for F&B industry machinery. Regarding the latter industry, a comparison among competitors shows a better ranking of the Italian businesses in the Asian market, where the value of our exports is higher than China and Germany. On the contrary, for what concerns agricultural machinery there is a clear predominance of German businesses in the European market and of China in the Asian market.

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