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FAQs

General Economic FAQs about Italy

  • I’m a US company looking to find a lawyer or accountant in Italy to help me with my business interests in Italy. How do I find someone?

    I’m a US company looking to find a lawyer or accountant in Italy to help me with my business interests in Italy. How do I find someone?

    • Go to the Business Services Provider Directory in the Commercial Section of the Department of Commerce’s website. The Business Service Providers (BSP) Directory is designed to help U.S. companies identify professional service providers to assist them in the assessment, completion, and/or financing of an export transaction.
  • My company would like to export to Italy. How do I know whether the Foreign Commercial Service or the Foreign Agriculture Service is the best resource for me?

    My company would like to export to Italy. How do I know whether the Foreign Commercial Service or the Foreign Agriculture Service is the best resource for me?

    • A general rule of thumb is that if your company’s product is grown or raised, the Foreign Agriculture Service  is the best resource, whereas if your company manufactures a product or sells a service, you should consult the U.S. Commercial Service.

      The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) links U.S. agriculture to the world to enhance export opportunities and global food security.  In addition to its Washington, D.C. staff, FAS has a global network of 98 offices covering 162 countries. These offices are staffed by agricultural attachés and locally hired staff who are the eyes, ears, and voice for U.S. agriculture around the world. FAS staff identify problems, provide practical solutions, and work to advance opportunities for U.S. agriculture and support U.S. foreign policy around the globe. 

      The U.S. Commercial Service is the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.  The U.S. Commercial Service has trade professionals in over 100 U.S. cities and in more than 75 countries to help U.S. companies start exporting or increase sales to new global markets.
  • How do I find out about trade events in Italy where I might find business?

    How do I find out about trade events in Italy where I might find business?

    • The U.S. Commercial Service in Italy organizes USA Pavilions and provides a range of promotional and support services to other American exhibitors and visitors at major Italian trade fairs and during other important trade promotion events and activities. Exhibiting in an Italian trade show, or participating in another Commercial Service-sponsored event, is a cost-effective way to gain access to potential distributors and customers.  Click on this link to find out about upcoming shows and events: http://export.gov/italy/tradeevents/featuredtradefairsandotherevents/eg_it_024919.asp
  • What are some of the market challenges to doing business in Italy?

    What are some of the market challenges to doing business in Italy?

    • Italy is a mature and sophisticated market, and U.S. entrants face strong competition from local and other EU companies in all market
      segments.  Italy’s regulatory environment is complex and at times lacks the transparency, clarity, efficiency and certainty found in other developed economies.  Products that involve health, safety, or environmental concerns are likely to be highly regulated.  While EU-wide regulations often apply, Italian laws may go beyond the basic EU requirements.
  • Will my intellectual property be protected in Italy?

    Will my intellectual property be protected in Italy?

    • Italy’s protection of intellectual property still lags behind that of many other Western European countries, however Italy has made significant progress to improve protection.  While this remains an area of concern for U.S. companies doing business in Italy the outlook has improved.  Starting in 2000 and with subsequent integrations, Italy had already passed strong legislation aimed at curbing intellectual property rights (IPR) infringement for hard goods.  In January 2014, a regulatory package to combat online piracy, which will be effective March 31, has also been adopted.  Italy’s finance police (Guardia di Finanza) is  active in combating the sale of counterfeit goods, although trademark counterfeiting is still a big problem in the country.  While awareness of the cultural and economic value of IPR protection is increasing in Italy, often IPR violations are still viewed as petty offences by Italian judges. Creating a culture of IPR legality is still a challenge in this country.

      The Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy initiative contains additional information about a comprehensive program designed to dismantle the criminal networks that traffic in fakes, stop trade in pirated and counterfeit goods at America's borders, block fake goods around the world, and help small businesses secure and enforce their rights in overseas markets.

      Chapter 3 of the Country Commercial Guide and the subsection about Protecting your Intellectual Property provide additional, Italy-specific information.  In particular, note that filing for trademark or patent protection in the U.S. does not mean that same protection is extended to overseas locations.

  • Where do I find out about import tariffs on U.S. goods?

    Where do I find out about import tariffs on U.S. goods?

    • The Integrated Tariff of the Community, referred to as TARIC (Tarif Intégré de la Communauté), is designed to show various rules applying to specific products being imported into the customs territory of the EU or, in some cases, when exported from it.  To determine if a license is  required for a particular product, check the TARIC. The TARIC can be searched by country of origin, Harmonized System (HS) Code, and product description on the interactive website of the Directorate-General for Taxation and the Customs Union. The online TARIC is updated daily.

      Various controlled products (such as arms and munitions), are the most frequently regulated items.  Import licenses are generally granted rapidly for goods of U.S. origin, and delays are usually caused by lack of proper documentation, or information.  Licenses are not transferable, although they may be used to cover several shipments within the total quantity authorized. In general, the goods involved are indicated on the license by the Harmonized System classification number and the corresponding wording of the tariff position.

       

  • Where can I find more statistics about the Italian Economy?

    Where can I find more statistics about the Italian Economy?

    • The Italian National Institute of Statistics (Istat.it) is a public research organization.  It has been present in Italy since 1926, and is the main producer of official statistics in the service of citizens and policy-makers. It operates in complete independence and continuous interaction with academic and scientific communities.