The USA, the leading market for Made in Italy food products outside Europe, has confirmed the additional duties on Italian exports. President Biden confirmed them, despite the conciliatory gesture by the Grana Padano consortium of giving the newly elected President a 40 kg wheel of Grana Padano Riserva aged 20 months, made even more special by the fact that half the wheel was painted with the Italian flag and the other half with stars and stripes.

Nevertheless, the products to be taxed include Grana Padano, as well as Gorgonzola, Asiago, Fontina, Provolone, salami, mortadella, shellfish, citrus fruits, juices, cordials and liqueurs such as bitters and limoncello. Italian wine, the main item of Italian agri-food exports to the United States (about €1.5 billion), was not the subject of retaliatory strategies.

Economic-diplomatic action would be needed to extend the policies applied through CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement). According to the agreement, Canadian duties on imports from Europe are reduced by 98% and exports to this country have grown exponentially in the last two years. With the United States, on the other hand, apart from retaliation, there is no bilateral agreement, which is why many Italian products are not protected. In this scenario, it is clear that no Italian producer can compete with Italian Sounding products, a serious problem that must be central in 2021. It is worth remembering that the value of “fake” Made in Italy food products in the world has risen to over 100 billion, with a record increase of 70% over the last decade, as if to say that on the foreign market, more than 2/3 of products that claim to be Italian are fake.

Meanwhile, in 2020 the pandemic has also changed the habits and behaviour of global consumers, starting from the country where it all began: China, which is the main potential channel for Italian products. It has a great culinary tradition, which is increasingly sensitive to Western and sophisticated products. Being able to spread the word in favour of true Italian products of excellence and, above all, making people understand that the authenticity of the choice is decisive for its final quality, remains a fundamental element for safeguarding the potential of Made in Italy products in those territories. Much is done by territorial associations such as PROMOItalia, an Italian association and partner of ITA0039, which aims to promote Italian food and wine culture in the Republic of China, Hong Kong and Macao. The partnership between PROMOItalia and ITA0039 aims to enhance: the origins of Made in Italy raw materials and their link with the territories, the catering techniques and the Italian culinary tradition against the Italian Sounding, in view of a concrete diffusion of the Italian Way of Life also at the table.

Great attention is paid in China to the organic world in particular. In fact, 19% of the Chinese middle-upper class bought at least one Made in Italy organic product in 2020 and our country is considered a guarantee of quality in organic products, especially dairy products, baby food, meat, pasta and baked goods (Nomisma data). Chinese consumers put Italy in first place, both for the quality of food in general (17% cite Italy when they think of a country producing excellence in Food & Beverage) and for that of organic products (18%).

The challenge is to continue to enhance the value of Italian excellence, protecting it and disseminating its quality and certified supply methods, which are therefore guaranteed and safe for the health of consumers worldwide.

“Italian food products come from the most controlled crops in Europe, and are the healthiest, most sustainable and most chemical-free products on the planet. – Says Fabrizio Capaccioli, Managing Director of ASACERT and creator of the ITA039 100% Italian Taste Certification Protocol – In short, eating Italian is healthy, assuming it really is. Biodiversity is another all-Italian record, thanks also to the use of organic fertilisers in the vast majority of crops. These are the values that distinguish Italian agri-food production, which is crying out to be protected, supported and flanked, today more than ever, also thanks to the ITA0039 Protocol. – And he concludes – Our Network wants to be an integrated system to build a future where taste is intensified by the sincerity with which it is transported from the earth to the palate, spreading and defending the excellence of the great Italian agri-food tradition”.