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Fare Affari in Italia


Fare Affari in Italia

The US economy and Italy-US trade and investment relations: an overview - January 2013

1. Overview (Source: Banca d’Italia – Economic Bulletin - October 2012).

2. The Embassy of Italy in Washington coordinates business promotion activities in the United States. A coordination strategy is laid out in meetings,, chaired by the Chief of Mission, which include representatives of Italian Administrations and Agencies in the U.S., such as the Italian Trade Commission, the Bank of Italy, ENIT, the Italian Cultural Institute, as well as the Ministry of Defense, and Italian Executive Directors at the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Interamerican Development Bank.
Promotional activities are focused on high tech sectors, in line with the priorities of the Obama administration for the long-term economic development of the U.S.: transportation/infrastructure (in particular, high speed rail), energy/green economy, biotech, aerospace. Many of the promotional initiatives have been under the umbrella of the calendar of events in the U.S. to celebrate 150 years of Italian Unity (Italy @ 150). Among them are the following:

On 11 July 2011 took place in Washington the Fancy Food Festival, the largest specialty food and beverage fair in the United States. During this fair, the Embassy of Italy hosted a special event, “Kosher for Everyone”, organized in cooperation with ICE and the Italian Ministry of Economic Development. The event aimed at promoting the growing role of Italy in new trends of U.S. food market, in particular the Kosher certification for Italian food products. This category represents an expending market share in the United States, likely to reach 18 million consumers. In fact, Kosher cuisine is not only part of Jewish tradition, but it is also popular in the Muslim world and in other traditions and nutrition habit, as those linked to organic food.

On 17 October 2011 the Embassy of Italy hosted the 2011 Vinitaly Tour, a promotional event for Italian wine industry organized by VeronaFiere. This event contributed to promote high level productions of the most important Italian winemaking cooperatives in order to stregthen their image in U.S. market, which is of great importance for Italian wine industry.

The excellent exchanges in Medicine have been boosted by the Memorandum of Understanding in the field of Health and Medical Sciences, signed  by the Italian Minister of Health, Prof. Ferruccio Fazio, on 12 October 2010 in Washington, DC. The agreement has extended and deepened the bilateral cooperation: regenerative medicine, pathogenic diseases, longevity and innovative therapies have been included, in addition to Oncology, now covering molecular diagnostics and research on use of stem cells for cancer treatment.

On October 25 the Embassy of Italy hosted the 2011 Global Health Forum in the presence of the Italian Minister of Health, Prof. Ferruccio Fazio. The topic of this symposium was obesity, in particular an exhaustive analysis of the issue from perspective of scientific and medical research, in addition to economic effect of obesity on public health system. Participants included Thomas R. Frieden, Director of CDC (Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention), William Colglazier, Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State, Enrico Garaci, President of ISS (Istituto Superiore di Sanita’), and Sergio Pecorelli, Provost of University in Brescia and President of AIFA (Italian Medicines Agency).

Bilateral relations and investment opportunities

1. Trade

For the first eight months of 2012 US imports from Italy, worth 24,978 billion $, have increased 9,83%, more than the average increase in US imports from the rest of the world and from the EU, respectively 4,66% and 4,75%.

Among European countries, Italy is fourth supplier for American markets, after Germany, UK, France.

Mechanics continues to be the most relevant sector, representing 20,7% of US imports from Italy, followed by: fashion and accessory (13,9%), chemistry and oil by-products (13,9%), food, agriculture and wine (9,6%), commercial vehicles (6,2%), electric vehicles (5,2%), pharmacology (5,1%)  home furniture (4,3%).

For this period of 2012, High-tech products make up 10,53% of imports from Italy, worth 2,631 billion $. In particular, aerospace, biotechnology, life science and electronics constitute the major sectors.

Economic Bulletin (Banca d'Italia)

(in millions of dollars) Jan. to Dec.

2011 2012 Var.
Import USA from Italy 7,58 8,304 9.55%
Market share 1.49% 1.50%
Export USA toward Italy 3,891 4,315 10,91%
Market share 1.11% 1.13%
Balance of Trade -3,689 -3,989

Source: Italian Institute for Foreign Trade

2. Investments

In terms of investments the United States market – with a national income greater than 14,000 billion dollars, a population of over 300 million and an average per capita income of 46 thousand dollars a year – is of strategic importance in comparison to the rest of the world because of its dimensions, its central position in the global economy and its capacity as the driving force of consumption models. Over the course of the past two years, numerous Italian industries have grasped the opportunity to invest in the United States.

As an example, Finmeccanica has acquired DRS Technologies, a leading supplier of defense electronic systems, and Fincantieri which acquired the shipbuilding division of the Manitowoc Marine Group (Mmg) located on Lake Michigan, with the aim of consolidating its presence in the naval defense industry. In addition to this, the merger between Fiat and Chrysler, two of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world, is the most eloquent proof of the high standard achieved by the Italian industry in the US. Indeed, there have been other alliances attesting to this very positive trend, the most recent being: ENI and Dominion Group resources; Tenaris and Hydril, Texas; Luxottica and Oakley; Campari and Cabo Wabo; and, finally, Zach System and the Ppg Industry Group in Pittsburgh. These transactions reach a total of billions of dollars. Other investors in the US market are Bracco, Brembo, Colavit, Enel, Ferretti, Italcementi, Mediaset, Pirelli, Prysmian Cavi, and Sogefi.

Enel Green Power is a leading owner and operator of renewable energy plants in North America. It has received final regulatory approval to construct its groundbreaking hybrid solar and geothermal power plant in Nevada and together with  its development partner TradeWind Energy has started construction activities of the Rocky Ridge wind project, 51% owned by EGP NA, located in Kiowa County and Washita County, Oklahoma.

According to the last data, there are more than 2.200 Italian firms and companies in the United States with a total billing of 42 billion dollars. There are more than 1.800 U.S. firms and companies in Italy with a revenue of 158 billion dollars.

The most important U.S. investments were made by: Coca Cola, Heinz, McDonald’s, Kraft (food); Exxon-Mobil,  Pfizer, Bristol Myers Squibb, Abbot Laboratories, Johnson&Johnson, Eli Lilly (pharmaceutics);  General Electric, Whirlpool (mechanics); Dow Chemical, Dupont, Procter&Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive (petrochemicals), IBM, la Microsoft, EDS (Electronic Data Systems (Information science and technology); Altria (Philip Morris),  Walt Disney.