The Feb. 1 signing of an economic partnership agreement (EPA) between the European Union and Japan, reasons behind the growing Japanese appetite for Italian cheeses and an unexpected source for the growth of Italian grappa imports into Japan were all topics Ambassador Giorgio Starace touched upon during a conversation at Foodex Japan 2019.

"The signed EPA has just come into force," began the ambassador, remarking that in 2018, food exports to Japan amounted to roughly €1 billion out of €10 billion worth of Italian exports to this country overall.

"It is interesting to compare the statistics concerning the growth of Italian exports to South Korea over the last decade following the signing of a free trade agreement between the EU and South Korea. Exports doubled in 10 years. We are sure that here in this gigantic market of Japan, the third-largest economy in the world, we will do much better than with our exports in South Korea," said Starace.