Updated 2011 Exporter Guide for the Italian Market
This report offers updated information for U.S. companies interested in exporting food and agricultural products to Italy, including an overview of the country's economic situation, market structure, export requirements, and best product export opportunities.
Italy has a diversified industrial economy, which is divided into a developed industrial north, dominated by private companies, and a less-developed, agricultural south, with high unemployment. The Italian economy is driven in large part by the manufacture of high-quality consumer goods produced by small and medium-sized enterprises, many of them family owned. Italy also has a sizable underground economy, which by some estimates accounts for as much as 15% of GDP. These activities are most common within the agriculture, construction, and service sectors. Italy has moved slowly on implementing needed structural reforms, such as reducing graft, overhauling costly entitlement programs, and increasing employment opportunities for young workers, particularly women. These conditions will be exacerbated in the near-term by the global economic downturn, but in the longer-term Italy's low fertility rate and quota-driven immigration policies will increasingly strain its economy.