The United States is the first destination for Italy’s products outside the European Union, only behind Germany and France. From 2009 to 2019, Italy’s F&B exports to the US market have doubled. Comparing the total export percentage from Italy to the United States, the food and wine exports accounted for the 9% of the total market in 2017. The trade picture looked increasingly positive until the COVID-19 crisis struck.
In these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 outbreak, and its disruptive impact on the economy and flow of products, it is more important than ever to examine the food and beverage trade sector. What is the current status on Italian exports to the US? How is the Italian government via its Trade Commission implementing to preserve, protect, and promote Italian products to the USA? On the ground, how are the nearly 60,000 Italian restaurants in the US going to be insured of a free-flowing supply lines of Italian products to their tables? Have the federal relief programs been effective in helping restaurants, importers and distributors, especially those medium to small sized establishments, to be in a position to operate when restrictions are lifted? The uncertainty of the times demands answers to these and other questions if the Italian restaurant and hospitality industries are to effectively reopen and survive.
Antonino Laspina, Italian Trade Commissioner and Executive Director (ICE)
Gianfranco Sorrentino, Restaurateur, Il Gattopardo Group and President of Gruppo Italiano
Gino Colangelo, President Co-Founder, Colangelo & Partners Public Relations
William F. Dahill, Partner, Dunnington Bartholow, Miller, LLP, Federal, State and City Financial Support