French protests hamper Italian and Spanish exports

Weeks of disruption sparked by the gilets jaunes anti-fuel tax movement have apparently led to a downturn in sales
French protests hamper Italian and Spanish exports
Wholesalers at Turin’s wholesale market suggested the situation was returning to normal

Protests in France against a proposed increase in fuel taxes next month have reportedly caused significant problems for the fresh produce business in Italy and Spain.

As Italiafruit News reported citing information from the Italian produce traders’ association Fruitimprese, some exporters supplying the French market said they had seen their sales fall by as much as 30 per cent as a direct result of the disruption, which followed weeks of protests by the so-called gilets jaunes (yellow vests).

Others had reported no such effect on their exports across the Alps, the group also noted.

“The problem is primarily a logistical one and it has an impact all the way back along the chain, in the sense that in the large population centres the protests prompt shops and supermarkets to close and so they are not restocking with perishable products like fruit and vegetables,” commented Fruitimprese’s Carlo Bianchi.

Distribution centres have apparently experienced similar difficulties. In Turin, however, some wholesalers with import-export interests in France said the worst effects of the protests appeared to be over.

In Spain, meanwhile, citrus exporters in Valencia reportedly described the episode as “traumatic”, with industry body Freshuelva noting there had been problems with the first shipments of early raspberries.

Export association Fepex called on the European Commission to demand that France adhere to EU regulations on free movement between member states.