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Il "MADE IN ITALY" LABEL KEEPS EXPORT AFLOAT IN DIFFICULT TIMES
The reputation of the "Made in Italy" label is helping Italian export to withstand the global economic crisis. Remaining essentially unchanged, 2008 saw the value of Italian export rise by 0.3%. These are the findings of the 2008-2009 report published by The Italian Institute for Foreign Trade (ICE) from data submitted by the National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT). Despite the value of Berlin-bound exports having dropped by 1.3%, the report confirms Germany as the number one importer of Italian products. Registering a 2.5% decline, France is Italy’s second export destination, while third-place Spain saw a sharper fall of 12.7%. The U.S.A. stand in fourth place, having reduced Italian imports by 5%. The "Made in Italy" label, however, has found fertile land in the new market opportunities offered by Eastern European and Asian countries in particular. In our classification of countries that import Italian products, Russia has improved its position, remaining in seventh place (up 9.5%). Even exports to China have increased by 2.5%. China and Japan's rankings (14th place and 17th place respectively) have remained stable. Italian imports, on the other hand, have increased by 1.1%; these are mainly from countries exporting raw material and energy sources, such as Libya (which jumped from eighth to fifth place), sixth-place Russia and, rising two places, Algeria (up 41% from 2007).
From a territorial distribution point of view, 2008 was marked by a significant decline in exports from Central and North-East Italy. This is mainly due to losses suffered by the Veneto, Tuscany and Le Marche; three regions whose export trade has been hit hard by the global economic crisis, especially in traditional sectors. The region of Emilia-Romagna, meanwhile, has recorded a further increase, managing to extend the expansionary trend it has been enjoying for several years now. Abruzzo also recorded an export growth that exceeds the national average, mainly due to the contribution of its motor vehicle industry.
Of all the industrial sectors, we note a strong improvement in the manufacturing industry’s balance (from €51 to €62 billion): this is due to there having been an import decline that was greater than the export decline. There have also been improvements in other sectors, particularly transport (from down €6.4 to down €2.8 billion), metallurgy (from down €6.3 to down €3 billion), mechanics (€48 to €50 billion), food (from down €4.4 to down €3.3 billion) and clothing (from €4.2 to €4.3 billion). Going against the tide, unfortunately, are some traditional specialisation sectors (textiles, footwear, household appliances, furniture and jewellery); here, the decline in exports has been so marked that the balance has been worsened.
Statistics available for the first five months of 2009 show a negative balance of €3.5 billion; this is a firm reduction if we compare it to the same period last year (down €6.2 billion). In light of the global economic contraction, Italy’s export performance in China has been remarkable - it increased by 1.3% in the first five months of 2009 (18.9% in the month of May alone) - and can largely be accredited to the mechanical sector’s success.