“Goal achieved: €516 billion in exports in 2021! With this result, certified by ISTAT [The Italian National Institute of Statistics] data, we have exceeded not only the figures of 2020 but also the numbers recorded in 2019″. So reads a post published on Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio‘s Facebook page.  

Export, Luigi Di Maio's Facebook post

The growth in exports is linked to Italy’s sustained growth in 2021. These numbers certify that Italy’s economic recovery amounts to more than a rebound after the contraction of 2020. For the first time in years, Italy’s GDP grew faster than every other European country. 

According to Eurostat, Italy’s GDP grew by 6.4% in 2021, more than the already optimistic expectations of recent months. In an article published by the Huffington Post Italy, Catholic University of Milan’s Professor Marco Fortis explains: “This is the strongest 12-month trend increase recorded by the Eurozone economies, according to available data. Italy is followed by the Netherlands and Cyprus (6%), Portugal (+5.8%), Belgium (+5.6%), France and Austria (+5.4%), Spain (+5.2%), Lithuania (+4.8%), Finland (+3.7%), Latvia (+3.1%), and, very far behind, Germany (+1.7%) and Slovakia (+1.1%). Italy also grew more than the United States (+5.5%).”  

Positive signals came both from the manufacturing sector and consumption and investment. Italian industrial production grew by 11.8%, almost returning to pre-pandemic levels. The growth recorded was faster than in Spain (+7.5%), France (+6%) and Germany (+4%).  

Marco Fortis, professor of Economics and Foreign Trade
Marco Fortis, professor of Economics and Foreign Trade

As Professor Fortis underlines, ” in 2021 Italy was the first country in the Eurozone in terms of growth of industrial production of intermediate goods (+15.6%); the second after the Netherlands terms of growth in the production of capital goods (+13.8%); and the fourth after Lithuania, Slovenia, and Latvia terms of growth in durable goods (+22.4%).”   

Italian exports grew by 18% on an annual basis (+20% towards EU countries and +16% to non-EU countries). According to FM Di Maio, these numbers are the result of the work done by the Foreign Ministry to support Italian companies in a difficult moment such as that of the pandemic. 

“These numbers strengthen our commitment. Allocating €1.5 billion a year for the next 5 years to support exports was just the beginning. Now, we must work to overcome together the challenges of expensive energy bills and rising logistics costs. Every party involved will have to work very hard”, continues the statement.  

Among the instruments used by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to support exports and foreign trade in the critical phase of the pandemic, the Export Pact stands out.

FM Di Maio launches the Export Pact
FM Di Maio launches the Export Pact

Launched after intensive dialogue with companies and trade associations, the Pact sets up a series of tools and allocates €5.7 billion to promote the recovery and adaptation of Italian companies to an international market that has changed radically in the last two years. The Export Pact focuses mainly on e-commerce and international fairs. The Ministry also launched a national branding campaign in a series of countries of interest for Italian exports. 

“I want to thank all the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the diplomatic corps for believing in an ambitious project such as the Export Pact. I also want to thank all the companies that joined us in our efforts for their resourcefulness and professionalism“.