PUNTOITALY No33 - January 2023

image by katemangostar-Freepik Free trade In 2019, the free trade agreement between the European Union and Japan (JEFTA) came into force, thanks to which most entry duties and nearly all the obstacles due to technical regulations that limited growth potential (specifically those regarding food safety, brand protection, and the automotive industry) were eliminated. Food & Beverage is one of the industries that benefits the most fromtheagreement thanks to the elimination of Japanese duties on many products and to the recognition of over two-hundred European geographical indications (PDOs) defined by member states, including 45 Italian ones. Italian Sounding Following the popularity of Made in Italy products, over time a parallel economy has developed, which causes incalculable damages to Italian companies as it steals market shares from protected products. This phenomenon is known as “Italian Sounding”, that is, using geographical names, images and brands that bring to mind Italy to promote and market products that cannot be attributed to Italy. It is the most blatant formof unfair competition, and it misleads consumers, especially in the agri-food industry. In the world, Italian Sounding products generate an estimated revenue of about 54 million euros per year (147 million euros per day), more than double theactual valueof Italianagri-foodexports. At least two thirds of all products sold abroad with assumed Italian origins are only seemingly connected to Italy. 51