Commercial relations among Mediterranean countries
The Mediterranean represents one of the geo- political spaces of interest in the scenario of international relations. Place of conflicts, intense rivalries , but also of intense cultural exchanges , this area continues to maintain a role of strategic importance not only for the countries of Europe, but also for other world powers , as it connects with its narrow sea three continents : Europe, Asia and Africa. Agriculture has taken advantage of this strategic location and dynamics of the many favorable trading location in the center of the political strategies of the world’s great powers and the evolution of international trade.
The dynamics of the intensity of agri-food trade between the countries of the Mediterranean are not unique as a justification are influenced by a variety of factors, including the entry into force of the agreements between the EU and the Mediterranean partner countries not members the economic situation of the countries affected by the bilateral trade, the importance of the agri-food sector in economic terms, the signing of free trade agreements with other countries of the Mediterranean partners or are geo -economics. Overall, there has been a weakening of the agri-food trade between the countries in the area and indirectly a gradual opening up of the countries of the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean to the non-European markets with which , in recent years , have increased trade agreements such preferential bilateral and sub – regional .
In terms of geographical distribution of trade in the euro -Mediterranean , there was a strong bias in trade of some countries. In particular, the area considered France takes a role of great importance , not limited to intra- Mediterranean but also international ones ; the country is , in fact, among the top exporters of food products worldwide. In the fifteen years of reference, France was , between the Mediterranean Member States of the EU, the only intensify in the whole agri-food trade with area partners and in particular with Morocco and Algeria , respectively , the main markets supply and outlet . With the latter countries , the dynamics of trade intensity , although showing some variability , detects , on the whole , an intensification of trade flows especially in the period 2006-2008, due to a faster growth of bilateral trade than that marked the global trade of the two countries .
This trend may be partially related , in particular Algeria, the entry into force of the said Agreement EU-Algeria Association in 2005. A trend characterizes different , however, relations with Israel ; with that country, the intensity of the agri-food trade maintains a certain continuity until 2006 showing only from 2007 onwards a gradual erosion of the intensity of trade due, on the one hand , the contraction of the bilateral agri-food trade – and in particular to a reduction of agri-food imports from France Israeli – market and, secondly, to a greater openness to foreign markets of Israel, not rilevandosi no effect of the subscription, in 1995 , and entered into force in 2000 of the Agreement EU-Israel Association . Many of the countries belonging to the region of the Middle East or North Africa, in recent years, have gone towards a gradual integration into the international economic system ; Israel , for example, in December 2007 signed a free trade agreement with the Mercosur countries in which it is expected to be 10 gradual removal of all tariff barriers existing between the parties. Beginning in 2008 , the changes that occurred within the agri-food trade with some of the main partners , are partly due to the crisis that hit the world economy and in a very differentiated the various countries of the Mediterranean according to their greater or lower trade and financial integration with the international economic system and in particular with the countries of the northern shore of the Mediterranean.
With regard to Greece , the results reveal , as already mentioned above, a reduction in the overall intensity of agri-food trade with partners in the area. In particular, there is a substantial stability of the intensity of trade flows in particular with Turkey , while Morocco recorded an appreciable increase in the intensity of trade after the entry into force of the EU-Morocco Association in 2000, compared , however, a progressively lower strength of trade relations with Israel , as a result of a contraction of bilateral agri-food trade and in particular of Greek imports from the country. Tends also to decrease the intensity of bilateral trade with Albania due to a higher growth rate that characterized the world flows than bilateral , although the country continues to be the main export market of agro-food products Greek . Conversely , increases in the intensity of the whole agri-food trade with Tunisia , as a result of an increase in bilateral trade and a parallel decline in world trade of the two partners ; However , since 2008 , there has been a gradual weakening of the relationship , partly due , as well as for other countries , the economic crisis has had a significant impact on Tunisia also important , and in particular on exports of agricultural products in this country. For Italy the results show an overall weakening of the intensity of bilateral agri-food trade with the countries of the South and East of the Mediterranean , while rilevandosi a flow growth in absolute terms , highlighting a growing diversification of markets and a loss of centrality of the countries of North Africa and the Near East as a whole. The analysis for each trading partner , sheds light on an intensification of trade with major trading partners and in particular with Tunisia and . With both countries , bilateral trade intensified especially in the early years presumably dictated by enthusiasm for an initial subscription of the Agreement in 1995 in Barcelona. Beginning in 1999, the year following the entry into force of the Association Agreement ( March 1998) , it is noted , in contrast, a reduction in the intensity of exchanges involving , in particular Tunisia, 1999-2003 , but they tend to grow again from 2004 to undergo a gradual weakening thereafter tied to a greater extent to a sharp contraction in exports of Italian food products in these countries , compared to the decline that has characterized purchases . Also with reference to Turkey is detected , on the whole , an initial increase in the intensity of bilateral trade, with a maximum value achieved between 2004 and 2005 , followed by a progressive deterioration of trade, due to the increase in world trade and in particular, a greater openness to foreign market of Turkey. Same trend is observed in bilateral trade with Croatia , another important area partners for Italy ( especially in terms of exports)
characterized by an increasing intensity over the period 1999-2003 (coinciding with the period of the signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement in 2001 ), due to an increase in bilateral trade more sustained than that which accompanied the global trade in the period considered , and a subsequent gradual loss of intensity in their business since 2005 year of entry into force of the Agreement. At the same fifteen years , intensify relations with Egypt and Israel , as a result of a growing dependence of Italian food products . The weakening of the Italian agri-food trade with the countries of the area can also be read in relation to the effects of the crisis on the national economy ; Italy , among the advanced economies of the Mediterranean, is , in fact , the one that has most affected by the crisis as presenting a fragile economic system itself which since 2007 has shown modest growth rates , compared to those reported for other Mediterranean countries with a high income , but mostly negative since 2008 .
Spain has , on the whole , reduced the intensity of trade with partners in the Mediterranean region , which has invested performance , in particular , trade with Algeria, Tunisia and Turkey , in the face , however, a growth in value of the flows agri-food area countries .
From 2007 there was a decrease in the value of the index, is due to a reduction of bilateral trade, both for a greater openness to the world market of the Moroccan State . The gradual weakening of relations with Morocco can be explained , on the one hand , the recession which has hit Spain, starting in 2007 , and the Moroccan State , and on the other hand , the spread in recent years , numerous reports political and trade among them was an agreement on agricultural trade between Morocco and the U.S. , which entered into force in 2005, which provides for a system of progressive tariff elimination for the majority of food products in a period of 15 years with the exception of some highly sensitive products for which there is a system of quotas. With Tunisia , as well as Algeria , there was a reduction in the intensity of trade flows , however, shows a fluctuating trend throughout the period considered.
Regarding the member states that joined the EU team with the enlargement of May 2004, the Trade Intensity analysis was performed for the same fifteen years of reference in order to detect any changes in the intra -Mediterranean relations following the ‘ accession. With regard to Slovenia , there has been , since 2004 , a decrease of the intensity of trade in agricultural and food products has notably Croatia and to a lesser extent the other Mediterranean partners , however , absorb modest shares of trade ‘ area ; what could be named to an intensification of intra -Community trade.
With regard to Cyprus , increases the intensity of agri-food trade with the countries of the area that was mainly due to an intensification of relations with Syria ; more moderate increases have affected trade with Lebanon , Israel and Egypt , which are major trading partners with whom the agri-food trade , albeit modest , have intensified in recent years thanks to the physical proximity between them. Finally , the relations between Malta and the remaining non-EU Mediterranean partners have become less intense after the entry of Malta into the EU presumably due to an intensification of intra -Community trade. However, the results highlight how increased trade intensity , as of 2004 , although in a very small extent with Morocco and Lebanon , as a result of an increase in bilateral trade, while a different dynamic has characterized the bilateral relations with Egypt and Turkey.