- In the last few years the Italian flower and ornamental plant sector has been characterized by a significant dynamicity, becoming one of the most important sectors of the Italian agricultural system. In terms of competitiveness, however, the above sector has faced several market crises due to the globalization process which has brought about an increasing supply of flower and ornamentals in the world market. In a national context, Mezzogiorno is an important area in terms of production source for flowers and ornamental plants, in relation to both extremely favourable climatic conditions and specific economic situations which positively affect profitability of firms operating in some productive sub-sectors (e.g., the ornamental plant sector). The paper points out the apparent growth signs of the Mezzogiorno flower and ornamental plant sector, though its contribution to the specialization of agrofood products is still marginal. An important feature of the Italian "Mezzogiorno" flower and ornamentals sector highlighted by this study is the relevant incidence of intra-eu trade flows with regard both to import and export. Within the single items belonging to chapter 6 "Living trees and flowers", the results of the analysis indicate a specialization in the category of live plants, also as a consequence of a growing demand for such products from foreign markets. The competitiveness analysis has pointed out that these Italian regions are characterized by a comparative advantage mainly with regard to some eu countries (Greece, Malta and France); and by a heavy disadvantage with the Netherlands and, less important, with Thailand.
JEL Codes: F140 - Country and industry Studies of Trade, Q170 - Agriculture in International Trade
Key words: competitiveness, flowers and ornamental plants sector, international trade, "Mezzogiorno")" />