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Country Commercial Guide: Italy (Country Commercial Guides)

Country Commercial Guide: Italy (Country Commercial Guides)

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Italy, with world’s sixth largest industrial economy, remains in the midst of a process of political and economic transformation. The Italian government continues on a path of budget austerity and privatization, reducing its significant role in the economy. As this rationalization of the economy moves forward, Italy should offer even more opportunities for U.S. firms, both as a destination for exports and a point for investment.

The Italian market is mature and highly competitive, demanding highquality products and services. The market is very open to U.S. items, particularly innovative and niche market products, services and technologies. European Union (EU) changes to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and Italy's implementation of EU harmonized phytosanitary and sanitary regulations should offer fresh opportunities for U.S. agricultural exports. For example, the continued move toward a fully integrated single European market should aid U.S. high value, convenience, and health food products. The realignment of the distribution sector toward larger chains and more competitive pricing should also aid U.S. exports.

Italy’s participation in the “euro” will simplify trade for those companies exporting to several EU countries. It also creates opportunities for U.S. companies with technologies and services that can assist Italian firms compete in the more integrated European market. However, these changes also will benefit European competitors who are increasing their presence in the Italian market through mergers and joint ventures with Italian firms. U.S. companies, already well known for innovation, will have to continue to emphasize the quality of their products as well as focus on price and service to maintain or develop their market share. The U.S. exporter also should be aware that to be successful in Italy they need to establish linkages with Italian representatives or partners and be flexible in their approach to this market.