Italy exported US$657 billion worth of products around the world in 2022.
That dollar amount is 19.5% greater than the $549.9 billion in total Italian exports in 2018. It also represents a 6.7% gain from $615.9 billion in 2021.
The top 5 importers of products exported from Italy were shipped from Germany, United States of America, France, Spain and Switzerland. Those 5 major customers accounted for 43% of global spending on Italian exported goods during 2022.
Applying a continental lens, approaching two-thirds (64.6%) of Italy’s exports by value was delivered to fellow European countries while 15% was sold to importers in Asia. Italy shipped another 12.3% worth of goods to North America.
Smaller percentages went to Africa (3.4%), Latin America (2.2%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania (1%) led by Australia and New Zealand.
Italy’s Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 25 of Italy’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most Italian shipments by dollar value during 2022. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Italian exports.
- Germany: US$81.7 billion (12.4% of Italy’s total exports)
- United States: $68.4 billion (10.4%)
- France: $66 billion (10%)
- Spain: $33.8 billion (5.1%)
- Switzerland: $32.7 billion (5%)
- United Kingdom: $28.7 billion (4.4%)
- Belgium: $24.1 billion (3.7%)
- Poland: $20.4 billion (3.1%)
- Netherlands: $19.6 billion (3%)
- mainland China: $17.3 billion (2.6%)
- Austria: $15 billion (2.3%)
- Türkiye: $14.1 billion (2.1%)
- Romania: $10.3 billion (1.6%)
- Czech Republic: $9 billion (1.4%)
- Japan: $8.5 billion (1.3%)
- South Korea: $7.42 billion (1.1%)
- Slovenia: $7.39 billion (1.1%)
- Greece: $6.9 billion (1.1%)
- Sweden: $6.77 billion (1%)
- Hungary: $6.7 billion (1%)
- Canada: $6.68 billion (1%)
- United Arab Emirates: $6.3 billion (1%)
- Russia: $6.2 billion (0.9%)
- Portugal: $6 billion (0.9%)
- Mexico: $5.8 billion (0.9%)
Almost four-fifths (78.5%) of Italian exports in 2022 were delivered to the above 25 trade partners.
Among these top import purchasers, Slovenia recorded the greatest growth in demand for Italian products posting a 35.8% increase in export purchases from 2021 to 2022.
In second place was Mexico (up 28% from 2021) ahead of importers in Türkiye (up 24.9%), South Korea (up 19%), United States of America (up 17.1%), and Canada (up 16.9%).
There was a trio of top decliners namely Russia (down -31.9% from 2021), mainland China (down -6.7%) and Japan (down -4.5%).
Countries Causing Biggest Trade Deficits for Italy
Italy experienced an overall -$32.2 billion trade deficit in 2022, reversing a $42.7 billion trade surplus one year earlier in 2021.
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.
- mainland China: -US$43.2 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2022)
- Russia: -$22.7 billion
- Azerbaijan: -$20.8 billion
- Netherlands: -$18.9 billion
- Algeria: -$16.5 billion
- Germany: -$14.2 billion
- Libya: -$8.2 billion
- India: -$5.5 billion
- Iraq: -$4.5 billion
- Norway: -$4.2 billion
Among Italy’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Italian deficits with Algeria (up 215.8%), Azerbaijan (up 96.7%) and Russia (up 74.8%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
In addition, Italy went from generating a $343.3 million trade surplus trading with Norway in 2021, to incurring the trade deficit listed above.
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.
Countries Generating Biggest Trade Surpluses for Italy
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.
- United States: US$42.2 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2022)
- United Kingdom: $20 billion
- France: $14.8 billion
- Switzerland: $13.3 billion
- Poland: $5.5 billion
- Canada: $4.7 billion
- Mexico: $4.5 billion
- Hong Kong: $4.46 billion
- Australia: $4.27 billion
- United Arab Emirates: $4.17 billion
Among Italy’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Italian surpluses with Mexico (up 36.5%), Canada (up 29.1%) and United Arab Emirates (up 28.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
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.
Major 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, Italy’s Top 10 Major Export Companies, Italy’s Top 10 Exports and Germany’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on April 11, 2023
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 11, 2023
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 11, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 11, 2023
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Italy. Accessed on April 11, 2023