Italy flag Italy: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of Italy

Foreign Trade in Figures

Italy has an export-oriented economy and is the 8th largest exporter and 12th largest importer worldwide, with trade making up 75% of its GDP (World Bank, latest data available). According to the latest figures by ISTAT, 15.7% of the exports from Italian manufacturing companies comes from small enterprises (with 0-19 employees), and 30.3% comes from medium-sized enterprises (50-249 employees). About half (49.6%,) comes from large enterprises (more than 250 employees). Considering operators based on export markets, 46.4% export goods to a single country, while 17.5% operate in more than 10 markets. The country’s main exports include medicaments, petroleum oils, cars and vehicle parts. Italy is also the second-largest wine exporter in the world. The country is dependent on imports for its energy needs, hence petroleum and gas products are among the main items in Italy’s import bills, together with motor vehicles, medicaments, and electric energy (data Comtrade 2022). In 2022, Italy's market share of global merchandise exports experienced a slight decline, dropping from 2.79% in 2021 to 2.65% (ISTAT).

Italy’s main trading partners are Germany (12.4%), the U.S. (10.4%), France (10.1%), Spain (5.2%), and Switzerland (5%), whereas imports come chiefly from Germany (13.6%),  China (8.8%), France (7.3%), the Netherlands (5.6%) and Spain (4.7% - data Comtrade).

Since the sovereign debt crisis in 2010 and after several years of registering a trade deficit, Italy has changed direction and has recorded positive trade balances in recent years. Nevertheless, in 2022 the external trade balance turned negative again, by an estimated 1.5% of GDP as per the World Bank’s data. According to WTO data, in 2022 the country exported goods worth USD 657 billion (+6.7%% year-on-year), while imports increased at a faster pace (+21.4%), totalling USD 689.2 billion, also due to the rise in energy bills. In the same year, Italy exported services for a total value of USD 124 billion, while its imports amounted to USD 134.1 billion (+20% and +14.5% year-on-year, respectively). Looking at the first semester of 2023, data from ISTAT show that the trade balance was positive by EUR 18.3 billion (compared to a deficit of EUR 15.0 billion in the same period one year earlier).

 
Foreign Trade Values 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 503,240475,006426,867567,421689,256
Exports of Goods (million USD) 549,526537,718499,792615,635657,039
Imports of Services (million USD) 126,883122,90294,677117,179134,168
Exports of Services (million USD) 123,435122,42185,101103,344124,083

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 60.359.955.363.175.8
Trade Balance (million USD) 54,14667,88778,58859,268-20,809
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 50,61767,35869,26648,460-31,117
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 3.4-0.7-12.115.211.8
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 2.11.6-13.514.09.4
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 28.928.325.830.438.7
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 31.431.629.432.737.1

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20232024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)2027 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 2.22.82.72.72.5
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 1.63.23.12.82.7

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Italy is a member of the following international economic organisations: IMF, European Union, ICC, European Economic Area, WTO, Central European Initiative (CEI), G-7, G-8, G-10, G-20, OECD, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates Italy click here. International organisation membership of Italy is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
The complete and up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by Italy can be consulted here.
 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2022
Germany 12.4%
United States 10.4%
France 10.1%
Spain 5.2%
Switzerland 5.0%
See More Countries 57.0%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2022
Germany 13.6%
China 8.8%
France 7.3%
Netherlands 5.6%
Spain 4.7%
See More Countries 60.0%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

659.4 bn USD of products exported in 2022
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses "incl. those in the form of transdermal administration" or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 5.2%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 3.9%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 2.5%
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles...Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s. 2.2%
Human blood; animal blood prepared for therapeutic...Human blood; animal blood prepared for therapeutic, prophylactic or diagnostic uses; antisera and other blood fractions and immunological products, whether or not modified or obtained by means of biotechnological processes; vaccines, toxins, cultures of micro-organisms (excl. yeasts) and similar products 1.8%
See More Products 84.4%
695.2 bn USD of products imported in 2022
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 9.9%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 6.5%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 3.7%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses "incl. those in the form of transdermal administration" or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 3.0%
Electrical energyElectrical energy 2.2%
See More Products 74.8%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.

Return to top

Any Comment About This Content? Report It to Us.

 

© eexpand, All Rights Reserved.
Latest Update: February 2024

Return to top