Italy has overtaken Germany to become the main market in the European Union for Ecuadorean products.
Figures from trade promotion agency ProEcuador show that exports to Italy rose by 56.2 per cent between January and April 2017 compared with the year-earlier period.
Bananas represent almost half of total sales to the Italian market. Ecuador’s trade agreement with the EU, which came into effect on 1 January, has been a major factor in boosting sales of this fruit, as it has cut the tariffs and made Ecuadorean bananas more competitive, said Ariella Ullian, trade representative at the Italian Embassy.
Cecilio Jalil, a banana exporter who represents the Banana Industry Association of Ecuador (Asisbane) said that he started selling bananas to Italian buyers in January.
He described Italy as a demanding market, where there is a high level of interest in certified organic products. He added that the trade deal had facilitated his entry into the Italian market.
Asisbane ships around 40 per cent of its 13m-tonne production volume to the EU. Of this, 5 per cent goes to Italy.