Posted on: 20 October 2014 By: TeamEuropages

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In terms of foreign trade, Italy, Europe’s fourth economic power, is smiling again having notched up a trade surplus of €30.4 billion in 2013, or 1.9% of GDP. France remains a leading partner for this country (as its second-biggest customer and second-biggest supplier), behind Germany. 5 business sectors offer excellent opportunities for expanding into the Italian market.

4.4 million successful Italian SMEs. Italy’s entrepreneurial fabric is particularly well developed: it is home to 4.4 million businesses (99% of which are SMEs) compared with 3.6 million in France. For many of them, imports account for a substantial share of their business. Italy’s mid-sized enterprises represent a GDP per employee of €45,591, which puts Italy at the top of the EU’s countries. In 2013, Italy’s foreign trade produced excellent results, with a trade surplus of €30.4 billion, its best performance in more than 15 years, up markedly compared with what was already a good performance in 2012.

Germany and France, Italy’s first and second partners. However, this improvement above all reflects a sharp decline in imports (-10.5% over 2 years), mainly concerning energy products. Italian exports (€390 billion in 2013) remain largely oriented toward EU countries which, in 2013, accounted for more than 53% of its total exports. Its top 5 target countries are Germany, France, the United States, Switzerland and the United Kingdom respectively.

Concerning Italian imports (€359 billion in 2013), Germany and France are its two leading suppliers. France is positioned as Italy’s leading supplier for agri-food products.
Representing Italy’s third biggest supplier since 2007, China’s market share has increased to reach 6.4%. Next come the Netherlands, followed by Russia, for which imports increased significantly in 2013 (by almost 10%) due to gas purchases.

5 promising sectors. Ubifrance has identified the following 5 promising sectors for going into business on the Italian market:

  1. Health and well-being.
  2. Agricultural and food products; the underlying theme of the next World Expo 2015 in Milan will be “Feeding the planet, Energy for Life“. Discover the 3,300 Italian firms working in this sector on Europages.
  3. Information/communication technologies.
  4. Franchise stores.
  5. Industrial subcontracting.

Go ahead and register your business on Europages if you want Italian companies seeking your expertise to find and contact you!


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