The paper analyses the trade relationships among EU- 15 members and some emerging partners : the NMS, Turkey and China. The EU enlargement to 10 countries has modified quite remarkably the features of agri-food trade in Europe. Some of the NMS, such as Poland, Hungary and the Check Republic, contribute to a large extent to the international agri-food trade and, since the beginning of the process of EU accession, have modified dramatically the exchanges with the EU- 15. More recently, other countries are facing new relationships with the EU : Turkey and China. Turkey is a large Mediterranean country and, as a candidate to the EU accession, enjoys a differential treatment in the agri- food trade relationships with the EU. China can be considered as a new international competitor, growing at faster pace after having joined the WTO and increasing its agri-food trade exchanges with the EU. The analysis will focus on the measurement of the similarity of agri-food exports of Italy and other EU-15 member States with the new partners to the EU- 15 market. It will be carried out with the support of three different indicators: the export structure similarity index (ES), the product similarity index (PSI) and the quality similarity index (QSI), using the Eurostat database with an eight "digit" merchandise disaggregation and with reference only to agri-food exchanges. It can be concluded that the similarity is quite low, especially if compared to that of the exports of the EU- 15 countries to the EU market. Moreover, looking at the level of quality of export products, it is highlighted how quality remains a crucial factor for Italian and European agri- food products to compete with external products. Keywords : International Competitiveness, Export Similarity, EU Agri- Food Market, EU Enlargement.


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