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Abstract

The paper looks at the increasing integration of China into the world market, with a specific focus on agricultural and food trade and on the Italian market. Agricultural trade among Italy and China has been limited to secondary products, especially originated in the livestock sector. However, in the last decade exchanges have been constantly increasing and the set of products changing deeply. Specifically, Italian exports to China have been specialising towards the typical "Made in Italy" processed products, showing a potential market for Italian agricultural and food products. In order to test the opportunity and the risks of the integration of China into the world agro-food markets, some similarity indices have been calculated, with refer to two different markets: the EU-15 and the Chinese market. In the first case the similarity of Chinese exports with those of some EU partners on the EU-15 market was considered; in the second the similarity of exports of some EU Member States to China was calculated. Taking into account the different level of quality of agro-food products, the main result of the analysis is that Chinese products entering EU are more complementary than similar to the EU products; at the same time, China is a great potential market for EU products, and Italy will compete with other EU countries in the gain of quotas on the Chinese agro-food market.

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