In accordance with its European Union membership, Italy applies the European Union (EU) rules that are in force in all European Union countries. While the EU has a rather liberal foreign trade policy, there is a certain number of restrictions, especially on farm products, following the implementation of the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy): the application of compensations on import and export of farm products, aimed at favouring the development of agriculture within the EU, implies a certain number of control and regulation systems for the goods entering the EU territory.
Moreover, for sanitary reasons, regarding Genetically Modified Organisms (after being allowed in the European territory), their presence should be systematically specified on packaging. The beef cattle bred on hormones is also forbidden to import.
The BSE crisis (often called the "mad cow disease") urged the European Authorities to strengthen the phytosanitary measures to make sure of the quality of meats entering and circulating in the EU territory. The principle of precaution is now widespread: in case of doubt, the import is prohibited until proof is made of the non-harmfullness of products.
Excise duties are also levied on certain products, especially on spirit.
>> To get further information on VAT rates in Italy, please check the list of VAT rates applied within the European Union (October 2003), as well as the Ministry of Finances website.
>> To get further information on Excise duties, please check the European Union excise duty tables (December 2003).
Italian industry is highly concentrated in the northern part of the country. The Lombardy region, whose center is Milan ( the financial and industrial capital of Italy), accounts for 25% of all companies. The Italian market is very competitive and profitability is the top priority.
Italy is home to the largest number of trade fairs and exhibitions in Europe, salons internationaux , providing an opportunity for exporters to make useful contacts. For example, the exhibition Boritech (International Exchange for Cooperation of Development and Investments) and salon pour la franchise which took place in Milan from 21st - 24th October 2005.