- François-Xavier Branthôme
“Protectionist measures and duties limit exports”
"Should the US decide to apply duties to the import of European food products, it would have a negative impact on the tomato market: in order to maintain their market shares, companies would have to revise their price policies, leading to lower turnovers," explains Diego Pariotti, Director of Foreign Trade at Conserve Italia.
Diego Pariotti, Director of Foreign Trade at Conserve Italia
Pariotti has not only denounced the American threat, but has also underlined the current difficulties that the sales of tomato products are also encountering in other parts of the world where protectionist measures prevent Italian tomato product exports from increasing as rapidly as they could. "People talk a lot about Trump's threat but don't think about the fact that there are still many countries with protectionist policies that prevent Italian tomato exports from growing." Pariotti is referring to the Middle and Far East and Argentina, a market with strict production shares (foreign produce can only be imported if quantities of a similar value are exported) where local tomato producers asked the government for subsidies to protect their productions.
According to Mr. Pariotti, protectionist barriers are also in place in Australia, where companies like Conserve Italia (simply because they are leading distributors in Italy with their own brands) face major difficulties to export their products due to big import duties that weigh heavily on the final sales price and prevent Italian operators from being properly competitive and from winning over new consumers.
Despite measures that have already been instituted and those that are planned for the future, Conserve Italia is neglecting none of the emerging markets and currently maintains close business relations with more than 60 countries throughout the world. "Europe remains the biggest destination for our exports, stated the group's Director of Foreign Trade, with countries like England, Germany, France and Scandinavian countries at the forefront of our operations. But it is now clear that Conserve Italia can only grow by developing its sales to Canada, Japan and Latin America. We also need to explore the countries around the southern edge of China, which record average growth rates of 5% and represent considerable potential in terms of consumers interested in our products. Without mentioning China itself, which represents a great opportunity and where we are investing in educational activities to teach people how to use our products in partnership with organizations such as Federazione Italiana Cuochi,” concluded Diego Pariotti.
Conserve Italia is a leading cooperative consortium in Italy in the food processing sector. The group works with 14 000 associate growers and processes approximately 570 000 tonnes of fruit, tomatoes and vegetables, in twelve processing plants, nine of which are in Italy, two in France and one in Spain. The total turnover of the Conserve Italia group amounts to approximately EUR 900 million, including 40% from the export sector.
Source: FreshPlaza, Ansa