The Promised Land was not the USA

Italian Food Asia

How to see a market wane, have alternatives, but not know how to seize them..

Do you remember Moses? They probably took him for a fool: ‘but what are we crossing the desert for? Here in Egypt, it may not be the best, but it’s not bad’.

Well, for years there has been a little voice saying to Italian entrepreneurs: “go to Asia… go to Asia…”

Asia is, objectively speaking, a mess: the language, the culture, the food (you can’t get an espresso ristretto like Buddha commands, even if you pay for it by the pound!

Moral, everyone in line to export to the Emirates, Russia, Brazil and the USA. All passionately together.

Moses told you…

In the last five years it has been realised that

the Emirates have a population that is equivalent to Italy’s northwest, and however rich they may be (10% of the population, the others are Pakistanis who only make Western Union rich) they still eat twice a day and wear one watch at a time.
The Russians are evil and undemocratic, so an embargo had to be put in place to curb their bullying. Woe now if any minister opened trade talks: it would be proof that he took funding from Putin at the last election!!! Moral: Italy’s second-largest trading partner is isolated, much to the chagrin of thousands of our companies that had pawned even the door handles to open up the Russian market. It’s a bit reminiscent of the Iran affair….
Brazil is not that much of a market, and has a risk rate equivalent to attending an end-of-Ramadan party offering pork chops to the onlookers.
Finally, here is the US in its favourite performance: war. Real or commercial, the gist remains the same. Wars, especially if you are used to winning them, bring in a lot of money.

It is today’s news (source: Sole 24 Ore, Link HERE) that the USA wants to impose new duties on primary products of Italian exports.

What does this have to do with Airbus?

In practice, what happens? What happens is that Boeing and Airbus quarrel. Boeing doesn’t really like the fact that its latest model has the unfortunate tendency to crash, a detail for which China has decided to cancel all orders to the American company and transfer them to Airbus. Oh yes, during Xi Ping’s last visit to Europe, a lot happened. While the Chinese leader was in Italy, his French cousins were screaming foul play over the Italian government’s negotiations to open trade gates in the food and manufacturing sectors. ‘You don’t do business with regimes,’ thundered Macron as French police truncheoned yellow waistcoat pensioners in the square. Only to sign an agreement to supply 300 airbuses to the same ‘onole lidel’ a week later. Power of the cash.

The problem is that this has made the Americans angry (and very angry).

And here is Trump’s plan/vendetta: to wage war on Europe by touching it softly, imposing tariffs on the most productive sectors of individual states. Guess where the Yankee axe has fallen? Tiles and wine, extra virgin olive oil, drills, brushes, skiwear, cold cuts, coffee.

In more detail, the products affected include those based on fermented milk such as kefir or yoghurt, fresh Italian cheeses such as mozzarella and ricotta, Pecorino Romano, Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana, Provolone in their various types (grated or in moulds). Olives, cherries, fruit preserves, wafers and whiskies, coffee follow. Then come the meats and pork products: the various cooked ham, raw ham and other sausages. Lastly, pasta – dry, fresh and egg-based – also a flagship of the ‘made in Italy’ label.

And so, after copying typical Italian products (the famous ‘parmesan’, for example), here is the move that puts those producers who have for years ignored an area of great interest (South-East Asia has 700 million consumers) on the margins of the US market to crowd the shelves of the American GDO.

Customs duties on Italian products. And now?

Most of the products affected by Trump’s customs Duties are in demand in Asia. Here in Thailand we continue to buy pasta made in Indonesia (soft wheat), drink New Zealand wines, eat excellent (I am being ironic, of course) American cheddar or Turkish Gorgonzola. We produce mozzarella here, some far-sighted Italians have finally come to invest the right way. But for the rest we are at the end of our rope.

There is little that is Italian, because when Moses said to leave and go to the promised land, he took the easy way out. Off to Russia and the USA. Et voila, you are served; the target date for the new duties is 5 August. You will all be at the seaside.