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Imports and exports in and from Italy

Updated on Monday 05th April 2021

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Italy, also known as "the Boot", is bordering France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia and it occupies a solid position in the top of the largest exporters in Europe. It has become famous around the world with its unique brands, such as Armani, Valentino, Versace, Benetton, Prada, FIAT, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, and Lamborghini. With these products, Italy has managed to create a niche in the global marketplace, especially where there is a high demand for premium products and superior goods. Those interested in starting a company in the import and export sector should get in touch with our company formation agents in Italy for assistance and details.
 

Imports in Italy

 
Among the top imports in Italy are minerals, nonferrous minerals, transport and energy products, chemicals, but also textiles, clothing and food and beverages. The reason for which Italy imports products from the energy sector, such as oil, is that it has very few oil deposits. Because it also has a strong lack of minerals and metals, it is mandatory for the country to import them in order to manufacture goods. The advantages of Italy are highly skilled workforce and great amounts of capital in regards to their manufactured foods, but the disadvantage is that it has lack of natural resources for energy and minerals, therefore it has a strong need of importing a majority of these products.
 
According to the latest statistics, Italy ranked 8th in the world in matters of economy and GDP. Italy was the biggest importer of hot-rolled iron worth around USD 3.35 billion, followed by electricity worth USD 2.95 billion, and rolled tobacco of nearly USD 2.07 billion. Italy also imported pure olive oil worth around USD 1.49 billion and antibiotics of nearly USD 1.46 billion. Here are other important facts and figures about the imports of Italy in 2019, as stated by the latest statistics in the field:
 
  • The first position is completed by crude petroleum worth around USD 35.1 billion.
  • Italy imported cars worth around USD 29.8 billion in 2019.
  • Packaged medicaments worth nearly USD 17.4 billion were also on the list of imports.
  • Petroleum gas of nearly USD 15.8 billion was among the imports of Italy in 2019.
 
Most of the imports came from countries like Germany, China, France, the Netherlands, and Spain.
 

Import procedures and documents in Italy

 
Italian companies interested in importing goods into Italy must consider the following:
 
  • all the products imported by companies must adhere to the local and EU regulations;
  • special licenses must be obtained when importing certain categories of products, such as food;
  • the products must be accompanied by specific documents which attest their origins;
  • the products must also be labeled in accordance with the local and EU legislation.

 

With respect to the documents which must accompany imported products, we mention the following:

 

  • the invoice and the documents indicating the provenience of the products;
  • the Single Administrative Document which must be provided for products coming from other EU countries;
  • a summary declaration which must be presented with the Italian Customs authority;
  • other documents and licenses issued for the import of special categories of products.
 
Our company registration representatives in Italy can advise on these requirements.
 

Exports in Italy

 
Before the economic crisis, Italy experienced a decrease in the total global trade volumes, but that did not affect the economy that maintained a strong position, being ranked eighth in the world for export volumes. Among the exports of Italy we mention precision machinery that represents 18% of total exports, metals and metal products, worth 13%, but also clothing and footwear, motor vehicles, including luxury vehicles, motorcycles and scooters. Italy also imports pharmaceuticals and other chemicals, and food. Around 56% of Italy’s products are exported to other European Union countries, but also on other continents.
 
in 2019, the major export of Italy was the packaged medicaments worth around USD 25 billion, followed by cars of nearly USD 15.4 billion and vehicle parts worth about USD 14.3 billion. Here are other interesting facts and figures about Italy export in 2019:
 
  • Small iron pipes worth around USD 3.59 billion were among the exports of Italy.
  • Pasta and processed tomatoes worth USD 3.02 billion and USD 1.86 billion respectively were on the list of Italy’s exports for 2019.
  • Italy also exported processed tobacco of nearly USD 1.45 billion.
 
Most of the exports took the road of the main business partners of Italy: Germany, US, UK, Spain, and France. More on these topics can be discussed with our team of company formation agents in Italy who can also help you register a company in Italy in the import and export field.
 

Export procedures in Italy

 
When it comes to Italy export procedures, these are similar to import ones. In order to export goods, Italian companies are required to obtain export licenses for the products they intend to take abroad. They are required to submit a declaration with information about the goods to be exported, which must contain:
 
  • the type of products and the amount to be exported;
  • the price and the quantity of the goods;
  • the country the goods will be sent to;
  • information about where the products will be stored;
  • information about the company exporting the products.

 

The import and export of goods in and from Italy can be done by road, by railroad, by sea or by air.

 

Opening a trading business in Italy

 
Those who want to operate in Italy import and export sector can open trading companies. The registration of a trading company will imply the same steps as for any other business and requires:
 
  • choosing the appropriate business form which is usually represented by the limited liability company;
  • registering the company with the Trade Registry in Italy, as required by the Company Law;
  • registering the company with the tax authorities and obtaining a VAT number in Italy;
  • registering the company with the Customs and applying for an EORI number for foreign trade purposes.
 

EORI registration in Italy

 
Italy adopted the EORI system in 2009. EORI is the Economic Operator Registration and Identification number used for better verification of economic operators with import and export activities in Europe. EORI is composed of a unique identification code generated by the Italian authorities, and the country code (IT). Such a number must be obtained before starting the import and export activities, it is unique and it is issued very quickly, as soon as the necessary documents are accepted by the authorities. The use of this number is important for the controls of the companies at the customs, before any import or export operations. In addition, even sole traders with such activities must apply for an EORI number before starting activities.
 
Following the UK's exit from the European Union, new rules on import and export relations with the UK were adopted in 2021. Most concern customs administrative procedures and the use of EORI to verify companies. Find out from our specialists what are the steps to follow to obtain the EORI number.
 

Making investments in Italy

 
Italy is an extremely attractive destination in terms of foreign investment, due to the multitude of business opportunities in various fields of interest. Expanding the portfolio and generating profits is possible for all foreign investors who decide on Italy for new business. Foreign entrepreneurs can benefit both from the simplification of a company's registration rules and an experienced local workforce. In addition, trading companies are very successful in Italy because the country offers the perfect climate for such businesses, where transport and logistics play an extremely important role.
 
Foreign investors can turn their attention to other areas of interest for local businesses, such as manufacturing, agriculture, engineering, automotive, textiles, food & beverages, to name a few. Below are some interesting data and statistics about the economic and business direction of Italy:
 
  1. Nearly USD 446 billion represented the total FDI stock for Italy in 2019.
  2. According to the 2020 Doing Business report, Italy ranked 58th out of 190 worldwide economies, in terms of doing business with the lack of complexities.
  3. Foreign investors own shares in more than just 12,000 companies in Italy.
  4. Luxembourg, the Netherlands, France, Germany, and UK are the main investment partners of Italy.
  5. Italy ranked 15th out of 20 host economies in the world.
 
Our Italian company formation advisors can guide foreign entrepreneurs who want to open trading companies in this country. If you want to start a business in Italy and you are interested in the trading activitiescontact our company formation agents in Italy to benefit from advice. 

 

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