(AGI) Rome, June 9 - Italy's agricultural exports to China haveincreased by 298 percent since the start of the global economiccrisis, hitting a record 367 million euros in 2014. The numberswere announced by the Italian Association of Farmers(Coldiretti) based on data gathered by the national statisticsinstitute (ISTAT) between 2008 and 2014. The study waspresented at the Italian-Chinese Forum on cooperation in theagricultural sector, held at the Expo in Milan during a daydedicated to the Asian nation. Italy's agricultural exportscontinued to rise by an encouraging 4 percent in the firstthree months of 2015, with a positive effect for the tradebalance, Coldiretti said. The products in greatest demand arestaples of the Mediterranean diet, such as wine, pasta, fruitand vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, coffee, and cheese. Thepopularity of sparkling wine soared, with exports up 46 percentin the first two months of 2015 compared to the previous year.Italy's importation of Chinese agricultural goods remainssignificant, Coldiretti noted, amounting to 536 million eurosin 2014, a 4 percent drop compared to 2013. The main productswere tomatoes, honey, rice, and garlic. However, Coldiretticoncluded, the EU's alert system ranks China first for sellingharmful food, with 469 food safety alerts, or 15 percent of thetotal. (AGI) . .