Italy’s Top Trading Partners

Italy’s Top 15 Trading Partners

by Flagpictures.org

Nicknamed The Boot based on the country’s geographic shape, the Italian Republic is in Southern Europe sharing borders with France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia to the north.

Italy shipped US$506.3 billion worth of products around the globe in 2017. That figure represents roughly 3.2% of overall global exports estimated at $15.952 trillion one year earlier in 2016.

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%).

Italy’s Top Trading Partners

Top 15

Below is a list showcasing 15 of Italy’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most Italian shipments by dollar value during 2017. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Italian exports.

  1. Germany: US$62.9 billion (12.4% of total Italian exports)
  2. France: $51.9 billion (10.3%)
  3. United States: $45.8 billion (9%)
  4. Spain: $26.1 billion (5.2%)
  5. United Kingdom: $26 billion (5.1%)
  6. Switzerland: $23.4 billion (4.6%)
  7. China: $15.3 billion (3%)
  8. Belgium: $15.2 billion (3%)
  9. Poland: $14.2 billion (2.8%)
  10. Netherlands: $11.8 billion (2.3%)
  11. Turkey: $11.4 billion (2.3%)
  12. Austria: $10.7 billion (2.1%)
  13. Russia: $9 billion (1.8%)
  14. Romania: $8.2 billion (1.6%)
  15. Japan: $7.4 billion (1.5%)

About two-thirds (67%) of Italian exports in 2017 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.

Among these top import purchasers, China showed the greatest year-over-year appetite growth for Italian products in 2017 given its 24.8% gain from 2016.

The value of Russia’s imports from Italy improved by 21.6% over the same period, followed by Poland’s 14% appreciation and Spain’s 12.6% increase in demand.

The slowest increase in purchases from Italy belongs to Belgium via its modest 1.6% uptick.

Deficits

As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.

It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.

Italy incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries:

  1. China: -US$16.8 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2017)
  2. Netherlands: -$13.7 billion
  3. Germany: -$10.9 billion
  4. Belgium: -$5 billion
  5. Azerbaijan: -$5 billion
  6. Russia: -$4.8 billion
  7. Iraq: -$2.5 billion
  8. Algeria: -$2 billion
  9. Slovakia: -$1.9 billion
  10. Libya: -$1.9 billion

Among Italy’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Italian deficits with Algeria (up 217.1%), Slovakia (up 194.2%) and Libya (up 135.5%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Italy’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Italy to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.

Surpluses

Overall Italy posted a $54.1-billion trade surplus in 2017 down by -5% from the $57 billion in black ink one year earlier.

Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.

Italy incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries:

  1. United States: US$28.9 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2017)
  2. United Kingdom: $13.1 billion
  3. France: $12.2 billion
  4. Switzerland: $10.8 billion
  5. Hong Kong: $6.5 billion
  6. United Arab Emirates: $4.9 billion
  7. Mexico: $3.7 billion
  8. Australia: $3.7 billion
  9. Poland: $3.1 billion
  10. Japan: $2.7 billion

Among Italy’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Italian surpluses with Mexico (up 28.5%), Japan (up 21.8%) and Switzerland (up 15.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Italy’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Italy to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.

Companies

Companies Servicing Italian Import Partners

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)

Based on Wikipedia’s list of Italian companies, the following are also examples of established firms that ship products from Italy to its import partners around the globe. Shown within parenthesis is the product category that the Italian business specializes in.

  • Alfa Romeo Automobiles SpA (luxury vehicles)
  • Campagnolo (bicycle components)
  • Eko (guitars)
  • Fabbrica d’Armi Pietro Beretta (firearms)
  • Ferrari SpA (sports cars)
  • Ferrero SpA (chocolate confectionery)
  • Forst (brewery)
  • Luigi Lavazza SpA (whole bean coffee)
  • Olivetti SpA (consumer electronics)


 
See also Italy’s Top 10 Imports, Highest Value Italian Export Products, Italy’s Top 10 Major Export Companies and Italy’s Top 10 Exports

Research Sources:
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 22, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on March 22, 2018

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

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

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