Italy escalates Canadian durum imports

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Italy has significantly increased its purchases of Canadian durum wheat, buying 1.09 million tonnes in the first eight months of the 2022-23 crop year, nearly four times the volume compared to the previous year. Algeria is the next largest buyer with 648,400 tonnes. Despite Italy’s mandatory country-of-origin labelling (MCOOL) law, which has been in place since 2017, the country continues to import durum from Canada due to a drop in Italy’s durum production and a rebound in Canadian production. However, the MCOOL law, coupled with a smear campaign by Coldiretti (Italy’s main farm organization) against Canadian durum, has created trade challenges and impacted Canada’s top market. The European Commission announced plans to extend MCOOL laws as part of a broader food labelling initiative, which has raised concerns among Canadian exporters. Cereals Canada suggests a voluntary labelling scheme would be preferable. The outlook for Canadian durum sales to Italy and other EU countries in 2023-24 remains uncertain due to conflicting reports about supply levels in the region.

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