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The impact of Italian investments in the U.S. is higher than the official statistics’ findings

impatto usa

Italy is the seventh European country for the number of employees in controlled American companies. In the United States, there are 1,826 active Italian investors who have shares in 3,519 companies in the U.S., 3,187 of which are controlling interests, supporting around 260,000 jobs and taking in $143.7 billion.

These are some of the data that stand out in the study entrusted by the Embassy of Italy in Washington to the University of Brescia, under the responsibility of Prof. Marco A. Mutinelli, who specializes in research on multinational companies. With a scientific approach, the analysis took into account not only the location of the registered offices for tax purposes of the companies concerned, but also the origin of the capital employed and the location of the decision-making processes, which are not reflected in official statistics.

“The imprint of Sistema Italia [Italy’s institutional network] in the United States is strong, dynamic, and bound to grow in the current global scenario in which it is essential to strengthen ties, including economic, between countries that share values and a vision for the future,” commented the Ambassador of Italy to the United States, Mariangela Zappia. “Italy has always been a reliable partner for the U.S. We aim to increase investments in both directions, especially in the most innovative sectors, from biotech to the space economy, from artificial intelligence to advanced materials. The Embassy, at the request of the Farnesina [Italian Foreign Ministry], is constantly working in this direction,” she added, stressing that the study was carried out in order to offer a more coherent picture of Italy’s presence in the U.S. and its contribution to the world’s largest economy. “This is” — the Ambassador concluded — “a contribution that benefits the United States and at the same time generates profits, stimulates innovation, and opens wider market prospects for our companies: It is therefore a win-win relationship that benefits both countries.”

According to the study, 1,451 Italian companies have only one subsidiary or joint venture in the United States, while 375 have more holdings. The majority of the companies operate in the manufacturing industry (522 subsidiaries of which 479 have a controlling interest): 22.8% in industrial machinery, followed by metalworking, computers, and electronic products, the food and beverage industry, automotive, defense, wholesale and retail, and dining. Italian-owned companies with at least 100 employees are found mainly on the East Coast (Northeast and South Atlantic together reach 50%) and in the states of the East North Central region (22%). The State of New York is home to the largest number of companies with at least 100 employees. Over three quarters of Italian investors come from Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, and Piedmont. Italian investors come from these regions for more than two-thirds of the investee companies and about 90% of the employees and turnover.

Italy has a higher investment stock in the U.S. than the U.S. does in Italy ($34.3 billion of Italian FDI in the U.S. in 2021 compared to $28 billion of U.S. FDI in Italy).

The United States is the first commercial partner of Italy outside Europe and the second in absolute after Germany. According to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, bilateral trade in goods and services reached a record $117.3 billion in 2022, up 23.5% from 2021. Italian exports to the United States reached $80.5 billion. The U.S. generates over 50% of Italy’s net trade surplus worldwide.

The trend is positive also in the first quarter of 2023, with the exchange of goods growing by 11.4%. Italian exports of products from January to March 2023 exceed the figure of $17 billion, an increase of 12.9%. U.S. exports to Italy amounted to $7 billion, an increase of 8% over the first quarter of 2022.

The study is available at the following link: