Italy - Country Commercial Guide
Market Opportunities

Overview of best prospect sectors, major infrastructure projects, significant government procurements and business opportunities.

Last published date: 2021-10-28

U.S. firms enjoy opportunities in sectors where new regulations or programs (often imposed or initiated at the EU level) are creating demand, as well as where U.S. products offer clear technological, design, or price advantages; or are new products/services with little or no domestic competition.

Best prospects for U.S. exports to Italy include advanced manufacturing, airport & ground support equipment, automotive, biotechnology, cybersecurity, design & construction, medical devices & technology, pet products, renewable energy, and travel & tourism.

Key U.S. exports to Italy include pharmaceutical products, industrial machinery and machine tools, electrical appliances, automobiles and auto parts, food and wine, and travel/tourism services.

The agricultural sector makes up a significant portion of U.S.-Italy trade. In 2020, U.S. agricultural, forest and fish exports to Italy were $1 billion and U.S. imports from Italy were $5.5 billion. Being a net agricultural importer, most raw materials and ingredients are imported, as Italy’s economic strength is in the processing and the manufacturing of goods, primarily in small and medium-sized family-owned firms. Italy exports mainly consumer products to the United States, while the United States exports mostly bulk commodities to Italy.

Italy announced plans to invest $291 billion (€246.6 billion) in transportation infrastructure over the next 15 years as part of its effort to kickstart its economy. Approved and fully financed spending so far include $156 billion (€132.1 billion) for rail, $89 billion (€75.8 billion) for roads, $26.4 billion (€22 billion) for mass transit, $11.3 billion (€9.6 billion) for ports, and $3.7 billion (€3.1 billion) for airports. Projects financed by these funds need to be completed by the end of 2026 as they draw on the €196.5 billion National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) financed by the European Union. Italy also announced measures to streamline public procurement to speed up government spending.

Italy hosts major trade shows that attract buyers from throughout Europe and beyond. The Commercial Service offers on-site support for U.S. exporters at most of the major international shows, or by request. The 2021 trade show calendar has largely been cancelled due to Covid concerns.  For fall 2021, some trade shows in Europe will take place physically, while others will remain virtual or move to 2022. 

The U.S. Department of Commerce actively promotes investment in the United States through our SelectUSA program. In Italy we have extensively promoted opportunities to invest in the U.S. to Italian businesses, trade associations and multipliers. The Italian delegation to the Select USA Investment Summit in Washington DC has consistently been among the largest worldwide.