The paper aims at analyzing the effects of the global economic crisis on the first two components of the Italian agro-food system (agriculture and food processing industry). More specifically, the aim of the paper is to evaluate to what extent and in what sectors the agro-food system suffered a loss of competitiveness in non-European markets, with a reduction in exports. The data on trade have been extracted from the Comtrade database (Eurostat), for a total of 276 products, over the decade 2002-2010. On the basis of these data, the statistical analysis has been developed in three stages. In the first stage, by analyzing the data on trade between Italy and BRIC countries, I find that there was a considerable increase in both exports and imports toward and from the BRIC countries. In the second stage, an analysis of the different methods of transportation the products reveals an increase in the sea transport and a reduction in the one by air. From 2002 to 2010 the structure of imports and exports by sea remains unchanged for the first twenty product lines considered, with variations only on the quantity. Italy's exports toward the BRIC countries confirm the success of the Made in Italy products (drinks, vegetables, pasta, sugar). Imports, on the other side, concern mainly primary products of the cereal sector, oilseeds, coffee and fish. Finally, the values of some of the indicators most frequently used in the agro-food trade, show: (i) a good degree of commercial coverage (GCC) for some sectors (preparations of vegetables, fruit and other plant parts); (ii) a slow and gradual diversification of the characteristics of trade flows (Herfindahl - Hirschman index), (iii) a good trend, even during the economic crisis; commercial advantages (index of Bela-Balassa) for some sectors of the Made in Italy (dairy, cereals and dairy products, beverages, spirits, vinegar); (iv) an increase in trade between Italy and Russia, Brazil and China and a reduction toward India (trade intensity index) and (vi) a growth in the level of correspondence between the structure of imports and exports for pairs of countries such as Italy - India, Italy - Brazil -, Italy - Russia and a decrease for the pair Italy - China (complementarity index).
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