Italy and Australia have a great relationship, based on solid and lasting ties, guided by shared values and principles and aimed at common strategic interests. A large and well-integrated Italian community has contributed greatly to the development of the Australian economy, society, culture and way of life.
According to the 2021 census, just over one million Australians have Italian ancestry and more than 160,000 Australian residents were born in Italy. Since international borders reopened in February 2022, many Australians decided to go to Italy on holiday, to visit their families but also and foremost because of the unique charm of the Bel Paese.
Bilateral cooperation is very deep and it applies in different areas; in science and technology, culture and the arts, as well as other fields, including issues related to security and counter-terrorism. From an economic and commercial point of view, the two countries have a solid and dynamic business base and trade has flourished despite the pandemic.
The total value of trade between Italy and Australia reached a new record in 2022. Italian exports to Australia amounted to 5,253 million euros, an increase of 22% compared to 2021 (which had already recorded a growth of 17% compared to 2020), while imports from Australia recorded an important +96% compared to 2021 (for a total of 1,195 million Euros). Italy was the 11th supplier country of Australia, second among European countries.
As usual, Italian exports were driven by machinery and equipment, food products, beverages and tobacco and means of transport, while imports mainly consisted of products from caves and mines and metals.
The Free Trade Agreement that the European Union and Australia are negotiating will certainly represent a multiplier of opportunities. A lowering/cancellation of the taxation levels currently applied to some product categories would make them more competitive on the market, also taking into account the high transport costs. In the food & beverage sector, the recognition of new denominations of origin would have a very positive effect for Italian products (Italy is by far the country with the highest number of such recognitions in Europe).
The reduction of non-tariff barriers would facilitate Italian investments in the country as well as access to tenders. The main focus of European negotiators is to increase benefits for small and medium-sized enterprises, which are the backbone of the Italian economy.
Despite the geographical distance, there is a large presence of big Italian industrial groups and other companies which are smaller, but at the forefront of technology and innovation. In total there are about 270 Italian companies with a stable and direct presence in the market with production plants, commercial branches or representative offices, that operate in almost all sectors (energy and engineering: ENI, Enel, Saipem, Prysmian, etc. .), infrastructure and construction (Webuild, Rizzani de Eccher, Ghella, etc.), financial services (Intesa SanPaolo), fashion (Zegna, Armani, Ferragamo, Max Mara, Tod’s, Gucci, Luxottica, etc.), luxury (Ferrari , Maserati), fitness (Technogym), food products (Barilla, Lavazza, Campari, Inalca Group, Ferrero, etc.).
Scientific collaboration is very dynamic: 25 agreements are active between Australian universities or Departments and Italian universities; the two countries collaborate on important projects (such as the Square Kilometer Array and the SABER project on dark matter); there are 4,600 joint publications; the community of Italian researchers in Australia is over a thousand.
Even on a cultural level, bilateral relations are excellent thanks to the strong promotion of our culture and the “Made in Italy” carried out by the Italian community in Australia. Furthermore, the Italian language is still among the most studied foreign languages in Australia.