Italy’s Top 10 Exports

Italy’s Top 10 Exports


Italy shipped US$506.3 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017, down by -2.3% since 2013 but up by 9.7% from 2016 to 2017.

From January to July 2018, Italy’s exported goods were valued at $330.1 billion. This 7-month metric puts Italian exports on track for an annualized $565.9 billion estimated for all 2018.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Italy’s exported goods plus services represent 31.8% of total Italian economic output or Gross Domestic Product. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, almost two-thirds (63.7%) of Italian exports by value were delivered to other European countries while 17.1% was sold to Asian importers. Italy ships another 10.9% worth of products to North America. Smaller percentages went to Africa (3.9%) and Latin America excluding Mexico plus the Caribbean (2.2%).

Given Italy’s population of 62.1 million people, its total $506.3 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $8,100 for every resident in that European country.

Italy’s unemployment rate was 11.1% as of January 2018, down from 11.9% one year earlier according to Trading Economics.

Italy’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Italian global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Italy.

  1. Machinery including computers: US$99.6 billion (19.7% of total exports)
  2. Vehicles: $43.7 billion (8.6%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: $30.1 billion (6%)
  4. Pharmaceuticals: $25.8 billion (5.1%)
  5. Plastics, plastic articles: $20.9 billion (4.1%)
  6. Articles of iron or steel: $17.5 billion (3.5%)
  7. Mineral fuels including oil: $17.1 billion (3.4%)
  8. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $13.7 billion (2.7%)
  9. Iron, steel: $13.2 billion (2.6%)
  10. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $12.6 billion (2.5%)

Italy’s top 10 exports accounted for 58.1% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Mineral fuels including oil was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up 43.3% in value from 2016 to 2017 thanks largely to increased international sales of Italy’s refined petroleum oils.

In second place were Italy’s exported iron and steel up 24.9%.

Pharmaceuticals placed third up 21.4% followed by exported vehicles’ 11% gain.

The slowest-growing among the top 10 export categories was unknit and non-crocheted clothing or accessories via its 4.2% uptick.

Note that the results listed above are at the categorized two-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. For a more granular view of exported goods at the four-digit HTS code level, see the section Searchable List of Italy’s Most Valuable Export Products below.


Overall Italy posted a trade surplus in 2017 amounting to $54.1 billion down by -5% from the $57 billion in black ink during 2016.

The following types of Italian product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. In a nutshell, net exports reflect the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Machinery including computers: US$55.3 billion (Up by 7.2% since 2016)
  2. Articles of iron or steel: $11.8 billion (Up by 8.3%)
  3. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $9.8 billion (Up by 5%)
  4. Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $7.7 billion (Up by 10%)
  5. Leather/animal gut articles: $5.7 billion (Up by 18%)
  6. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $5.5 billion (Up by 8.6%)
  7. Footwear: $5.1 billion (Up by 10.5%)
  8. Ceramic products: $4.5 billion (Up by 3.8%)
  9. Ships, boats: $3.9 billion (Down by -4.9%)
  10. Cereal/milk preparations: $3.6 billion (Up by 6.6%)

Italy has highly positive net exports in the international trade of machinery–a product category that includes computers. In turn, these cashflows indicate Italy’s strong competitive advantages in producing machinery for international markets.


Below are exports from Italy that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Italy’s goods trail Italian importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: -US$37.1 billion (Up by 25.1% since 2016)
  2. Organic chemicals: -$6.6 billion (Down by -3.7%)
  3. Iron, steel: -$5.8 billion (Up by 53.8%)
  4. Vehicles: -$4.8 billion (Up by 18.4%)
  5. Fish: -$4.7 billion (Up by 6.1%)
  6. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$4.4 billion (Up by 22.8%)
  7. Copper: -$3.2 billion (Up by 64.2%)
  8. Meat: -$2.6 billion (Up by 10.9%)
  9. Wood: -$2.4 billion (Up by 4.4%)
  10. Cereals: -$2.4 billion (Up by 4.2%)

Italy has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for mineral fuels-related products notably crude oil, petroleum gas, electrical energy and coal.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Italy’s competitive disadvantages in the international energy market, but also represent key opportunities for Italy to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations especially in cleaner alternative energy sources.


Italian Export Companies

Thirty corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Italian companies that Forbes included:

  • Eni (oil, gas)
  • Finmeccanica (aerospace)
  • Parmalat (food processing)
  • Pirelli & C (automotive parts)
  • Prada (clothing, accessories)
  • Prysmian (electrical equipment)
  • Saras (oil, gas)
  • Telecom Italia (telecommunications services)

According to global trade intelligence firm Zepol, the following smaller companies are also examples of Italian exporters:

  • Acciaierie Valbruna (stainless steel bars, rods, doors, window frames)
  • Chateau D AX (wood seats, chemicals)
  • Emilceramica (ceramic tiles, building tiles)


Searchable List of Italy’s Most Valuable Export Products

At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, Italy’s top export products are drugs and medicines, cars and refined petroleum oils followed by automobile parts or accessories then leather footwear.

The following searchable table displays 200 of the most in-demand goods shipped from Italy during 2017. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2016.

RankItaly's Export Product2017 Value (US$)Change
1Medication mixes in dosage$18.3 billion+9.8%
2Cars$18 billion+18.8%
3Processed petroleum oils$14.5 billion+38%
4Automobile parts/accessories$13.7 billion+9.1%
5Footwear (leather)$7.7 billion+1.6%
6Taps, valves, similar appliances$7.6 billion+4.7%
7Cases, handbags, wallets$7.5 billion+14.5%
8Miscellaneous furniture$7.2 billion+4.5%
9Jewelry$7 billion+15.2%
10Wine $6.8 billion+8.7%
11Blood fractions (including antisera)$6.4 billion+74.6%
12 Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines $6.3 billion+7.7%
13Miscellaneous machinery$5.5 billion+8%
14Trucks$5.3 billion+2.7%
15Unglazed ceramic flags, tiles$4.6 billion+143%
16Air or vacuum pumps$4.4 billion-2.2%
17Liquid pumps and elevators$4.2 billion+7.9%
18Temperature-change machines$4.1 billion+14.5%
19Turbo-jets$3.9 billion+4.2%
20Miscellaneous iron or steel tubes, pipes$3.6 billion+17.2%
21Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)$3.6 billion+6.8%
22Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)$3.3 billion+2.9%
23Miscellaneous iron or steel items$3.3 billion+12.1%
24Transmission shafts, gears, clutches$3.3 billion+13.1%
25Insulated wire/cable$3.2 billion+12%
26Aircraft parts$3.1 billion-2.7%
27Refrigerators, freezers$3.1 billion+2.3%
28Machinery parts$3.1 billion+12.1%
29Miscellaneous plastic items$3 billion+10.9%
30Other animal leather$3 billion+2.9%
31Cheese, curd$3 billion+11.2%
32Spectacles, goggles$2.8 billion+3.1%
33Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$2.8 billion+8.6%
34Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)$2.8 billion+9.2%
35Cruise/cargo ships, barges$2.8 billion+4.7%
36Lower-voltage switches, fuses$2.8 billion+8.5%
37Telephone sets including smartphones$2.7 billion+13.8%
38Engines (diesel)$2.6 billion+13.3%
39Pasta, couscous$2.6 billion+1.3%
40Electric water heaters, hair dryers$2.6 billion+9.6%
41Piston engine parts$2.5 billion+9.1%
42Centrifuges, filters and purifiers$2.4 billion+13.2%
43Rubber/plastic article making machines$2.4 billion+11.5%
44Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)$2.3 billion+0.3%
45Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)$2.2 billion+25.6%
46Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries$2.2 billion+12.2%
47Electrical converters/power units$2.2 billion+3.2%
48Lifting/loading machinery$2.2 billion+25.5%
49Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)$2.1 billion+5.5%
50Gold (unwrought)$2.1 billion-30.3%
51Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations$2.1 billion+10.6%
52Electric motors, generators$2 billion+13.8%
53Other industrial machinery$2 billion+5.3%
54Chocolate, other cocoa preparations$2 billion+19.6%
55Computers, optical readers$2 billion+16.1%
56Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs$1.9 billion+6.7%
57Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers$1.9 billion+12.7%
58Polyacetal/ether/carbonates$1.9 billion+11.7%
59Yachts, other pleasure/sports vessels$1.9 billion-2.7%
60Plastic packing goods, lids, caps$1.8 billion+5.9%
61Miscellaneous iron and steel structures$1.7 billion+6.5%
62Tractors$1.7 billion+1.3%
63Air conditioners$1.7 billion+16.7%
64Tomatoes (prepared/preserved)$1.7 billion-1.7%
65Iron or steel pipe fittings$1.7 billion+3.9%
66Olive oil$1.6 billion-3%
67Monument/building stones, art$1.6 billion-3.6%
68Moulding boxes/base$1.6 billion+11.8%
69Platinum (unwrought)$1.6 billion+31.9%
70Coffee$1.6 billion+5.4%
71Base metal mountings, fittings$1.6 billion+9.8%
72Miscellaneous aluminum items$1.6 billion+9.3%
73Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$1.6 billion+10.5%
74Other machine parts, accessories$1.5 billion+14.7%
75Plastic tubes, pipes, fittings$1.5 billion+11.2%
76Spray/dispersing mechanical appliances$1.5 billion+6.7%
77Flat-rolled stainless steel items$1.5 billion+22.9%
78Rubber tires (new)$1.5 billion+10.2%
79T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)$1.5 billion+14.7%
80Sort/screen/washing machinery$1.5 billion+5.5%
81Ball, roller bearings$1.5 billion+17.3%
82Women's coats, jackets (not knit or crochet)$1.4 billion+9.3%
83Motorcycles$1.4 billion+0.2%
84Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$1.4 billion+22.5%
85Aircraft, spacecraft$1.4 billion-13.6%
86Other measuring/testing machines$1.4 billion+9%
87Coated paper$1.4 billion+3.5%
88Other organic cleaning preparations$1.4 billion+12.6%
89Integrated circuits/microassemblies$1.3 billion+18.5%
90Footwear (textile)$1.3 billion+28.9%
91Fork-lift trucks$1.3 billion+18.7%
92Nail/staple/glue machine tools$1.3 billion+6.5%
93Printing machinery$1.3 billion+11.4%
94Spectacle/goggle frames, mountings$1.3 billion+7.4%
95Heterocyclics, nucleic acids$1.3 billion+0.8%
96Machine-tool for metal$1.3 billion+8.7%
97Derricks, cranes$1.2 billion-0.4%
98Paper containers, cellulose wadding$1.2 billion+8.1%
99Coated/laminated non-wovens$1.2 billion+9.6%
100Perfumes, toilet waters$1.2 billion+8.6%
101Harvest/threshing machinery$1.2 billion+10.7%
102Other food preparations$1.2 billion+26.6%
103Leather clothing, accessories$1.2 billion+9.9%
104Men's coats, jackets (not knit or crochet)$1.2 billion+18.3%
105Apples, pears (fresh)$1.2 billion+4.5%
106Iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods$1.2 billion+8.6%
107Self-adhesive plastic in rolls$1.1 billion+4.7%
108Motorcycle parts/accessories$1.1 billion+5.1%
109Vulcanized rubber items$1.1 billion+11.8%
110Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels$1.1 billion+15%
111Pulp/paper/paperboard machinery$1.1 billion-3.4%
112Parts for use with electronic circuitry$1.1 billion+1.8%
113Paint/varnish non-aqueous solution$1.1 billion+10.2%
114Interchangeable hand/machine tools$1 billion+19.6%
115Salted/dried/smoked meat$1 billion+7.2%
116Anti-knock/oxidation/gum inhibitors$1 billion+3%
117Aluminum plates, sheets, strips$1 billion+9.4%
118Iron/steel tubes, pipes, hollow profiles$1 billion-1.2%
119Hair preparations$997.8 million+12.1%
120Combed wool woven fabrics$987.1 million+7.6%
121Footwear (rubber or plastic)$983.2 million+12.5%
122Electric motor parts$982.4 million+8.9%
123Iron and steel stoves, barbecues$979.8 million+3.8%
124Stainless steel bars, rods$978.2 million+25.9%
125Chemical industry products/residuals$967.6 million+8.8%
126Special purpose vehicles$961.7 million+15.1%
127Sports equipment$946.9 million+8.9%
128Stone/ceramic working machine-tools$940.7 million+22.4%
129Piston engines$938.3 million+16.1%
130Central heating boilers$937.6 million+18.7%
131Cellulose fiber paper$925.6 million+4.1%
132Aluminum bars/rods$892.2 million+20.5%
133Tissues, napkins, toilet paper$888.1 million+0.7%
134Women's clothing (knit or crochet)$877.2 million+9.5%
135Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)$876.7 million+20%
136Insoles, heel cushions$872.6 million+6.6%
137Propylene/olefin polymers$868.3 million+16.8%
138Electric storage batteries$866.5 million+10.9%
139Grapes (fresh or dried)$861.9 million+15.3%
140Tracksuits, swimwear (not knit or crochet)$859.6 million+1.2%
141Ethylene polymers$859.5 million+4.9%
142Stockings, hosiery (knit or crochet)$846.4 million+7.5%
143Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers)$834.9 million+10.5%
144Electrical lighting/signaling equpment, defrosters$820.6 million+0%
145Aluminum (unwrought)$816.3 million+17.7%
146Soil preparation/cultivation machinery$814.1 million+12.5%
147Sauces, mixed condiments/seasonings $795.5 million+6.4%
148Antibiotics$777.9 million-12.6%
149Glass bottles, flasks, jars, pots$777.5 million+6%
150Synthetic filament yarn$774.1 million+3.2%
151Amino-resins$771.7 million+13%
152Yarn wash/clean/iron machines$767.8 million+1.3%
153Precious metal compounds$766.9 million+64.5%
154Packaged insecticides/fungicides/herbicides$756.6 million-0.7%
155Orthopedic appliances$756 million+12.7%
156Synthetic yarn woven fabrics$750.2 million+6.5%
157Garments from special fabric (not knit or crochet)$746.3 million-0.2%
158Pipe/chewing/snuff tobaccos$745.7 million+281.7%
159Miscellaneous animal feed preparations$739.4 million+12.1%
160Polyamides$737.8 million+23.4%
161Washing machines$720.4 million-16.9%
162Electric industrial/lab furnaces, oven$705.4 million+8.6%
163Miscellaneous live plants$697.7 million+12.4%
164Unknit/non-crochet women's blouses, shirts$676.1 million+4%
165Solar power diodes/semi-conductors$670.9 million-5.9%
166Plastic tableware, kitchenware, toiletry$648.9 million+8.5%
167Tempered safety glass$644.6 million+2.6%
168Personal toilet/shaving preparations, deodorants$641.5 million+17.2%
169Copper bars, rods$641.4 million+27%
170Acyclic hydrocarbons$637.3 million+30.3%
171Copper waste, scrap$636.9 million+19.1%
172Miscellaneous fresh/chilled vegetables$634 million+7.3%
173Metal-rolling mills$632.2 million-26.9%
174Initiators/accelerators, catalytic preps$622.1 million+14.8%
175Miscellaneous fruits (fresh)$619.5 million+10.2%
176Stoppers, caps, lids, crown corks$617.1 million+9.2%
177Copper tube/pipe fittings$613.5 million+10.8%
178Trailers$606.1 million+5.9%
179Knit/crochet special garments$605.7 million+18.3%
180Regulate/control instruments$598.1 million+5.6%
181Rice$597.5 million+5.8%
182Mineral, aerated waters$596.1 million+9.3%
183Vinyl chloride polymers$594 million+10.2%
184Alloy steel bars, rods$585.4 million+34.7%
185Vulcanized rubber tubes, pipes$583.2 million+10.7%
186Agricultural/poultry/beekeeping machines$583 million-0.2%
187Move/grade/scrape/boring machinery$577.3 million-7.8%
188Pulley tackle, hoists$574.8 million+15.4%
189Men's shirts (not knit or crochet)$572.7 million+0.2%
190Electric generating sets, converters$572.3 million+3.3%
191Iron or non-alloy steel angles, shapes, sections$569.5 million+8.7%
192Liquid fuel furnace burners$569.5 million+30.4%
193Wrist/pocket watches (no precious metal case)$562.9 million+4.5%
194Other prepared/preserved vegetables (non-frozen)$555.4 million+5.3%
195Aluminum foil (thin)$555 million+0.4%
196Bridge/tower structures, parts$553.9 million+8.2%
197Wrist/pocket watches (precious metal case)$551.6 million-5.6%
198Textile fabrics with plastics$549.5 million+1%
199Fruit and vegetable juices$547.8 million+6.2%
200Shawls, scarves$525.4 million-3%

These 200 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$391.8 billion or over two-thirds (77.9%) by value for all products exported from Italy during 2017.

Italy’s capital city is Rome.

See also Italy’s Top Trading Partners, Italy’s Top 10 Major Export Companies and Italy’s Top 10 Imports

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 22, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 22, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 22, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 22, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Italy. Accessed on March 22, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 22, 2018

Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on March 28, 2016