Just a couple of days after the executive orders on foreign trade signed by Mr. Trump last week and suddenly “trade war” fears spread across top press media all over the world. Lot of concern among exporting countries about possible new tariffs or restrictive policies after the aggressive statements by the USA administration following the executive orders. Practically the new orders launched an assessment to be completed in 90 days in order to identify possible causes of US trade deficit with several countries, and stated a more tightening application of the current anti-dumping measures.
At first many EU observers forecasted negative measures to be deployed against South Korea, China, Mexico or Germany but Friday many rumors spread about countermeasures against the EU meat and food safety barriers to US beef, hitting made in Italy excellence iconic products like Vespa or food specialties.A shocking page turn after the TTIP season and a concerning issue for many Italian companies that relied on the dynamic performance of US sales last years.
Meanwhile other tried to fight the scaremongering attitude of the majority of media: Piaggio (Vespa manufacturer) reminded that it could sell Vespas via Vietnam to serve the US market that, by the way, accounts only for the 2% of their foreign revenue, or Paolo Barilla who launched the Italian Food Union and showed himself confident about the possible wise measures from the US administration, considering that free trade is good for both the sides of the Atlantic. Oscar Farinetti, founder of Eataly, also remembered how the US beef dispute with the EU authorities is a quite old fashioned dossier, and it could be a good excuse for a US trade retaliation after some US companies tried to adapt beef products to EU demands, to properly serve the market and avoid the barriers. A quite old issue that goes along with the Boeing / Airbus dispute and other strategic ones.
It’s too early to be concerned but it’s not early to properly consider the possible negative impact on trade relations for Italy, one of EU major exporting countries which scored record performances especially in the food and beverage industry exports, and still has a huge potential to discover.
[Header photo by Augusto Navarro via Unsplash]