TTIP: either risk or opportunity for Italian salami and cold cuts?

According to data from Assica referring to the first eight months of 2015, exports of sausages on the whole exceeded 102,000 tonnes, with an increase by 6.2% in comparison with the same period of previous year, for a total proceeds of sales which exceeds 847 million Euros (+4.5 %). In the USA, Italian salami and cold cuts showed a more pronounced dynamism, since exports showed + 19% by volume (5,466 tonnes) and + 24.7% by value (over 66 million euro). Top sellers in the USA, in the first eight months of 2015, were seasoned raw hams (+ 23.7% by volume and + 26.8% by value). These products take advantage of their strong protected Community designation brands and well established traditional image, which maintains a strong appeal in the North American market. Calderone, Director of Assica, says: ‘In the USA we are living an extraordinary moment for our entire food industry, especially for those products that are able to express our tradition, as it also happens for such regional products as PDO and PGI salami and cold cuts. What has always been considered as a limit to our exports, namely a production system based upon SMEs, today is proving to be a treasure which must be capitalized in terms of differentiation of productions and proximity to both territory and its traditions. However, it is necessary that all parties involved are able to coordinate joint actions, both on internal and foreign market, and increase their promotion activities in foreign markets’. This is especially true as TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the forthcoming free trade agreement between the EU and the United States), imposes many unknowns on one of the most important sectors of Italian food, hindered by risks of imports of low price US products prepared with GMO meat, treated with hormones or chlorine, and non-recognition of our protected Community designations in the USA. In this situation, there is the risk that large food corporations can benefit from this liberalization of trade between the two sides of the Atlantic, just to the detriment of smaller industries.

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