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Exporting to the United States: the most successful Made in Italy products

Exporting to the United States: the most successful Made in Italy products

Export to the United States it is proving to be an increasingly interesting opportunity for many companies in our country. 

Just look at the trend which has characterized Italian exports to the USA in recent years. From 2013 to 2022 the exports of goods and services they recorded a growth of 66%.

The main strengths of this nation, which push it to be one of the major destination markets for our exports, are the following:

  • Market size: the USA is the third largest and fourth most populous country in the world, as well as the world's largest economy, with a GDP of 25,462,700 billion dollars in 2022;
  • Purchasing power: with annual per capita income of 73,398 dollars, the United States is able to guarantee a safe outlet market for Italian products;
  • Competitiveness: the United States finds its main strengths in the innovation and efficiency of the financial market.


Selling in the United States

Selling in the United States, the most successful product sectors for Italian exports


According to the Istat data, Italy is the second European country in terms of export volume to the United States, ranking only after Germany. 

The product categories most exported to the USA are:

  • Machinery and appliances nec, which constitute almost 19% of Italian exports to the USA
  • Means of transport that they cover the share of 17.2%
  • Pharmaceutical, chemical-medicinal and botanical articles representing the 12,3%
  • Food, drinks and tobacco (9,8%)
  • Textile products, clothing, leather and accessories constituting the 8,3%


Export to the USA it has therefore become a winning opportunity above all thanks to a profitable exchange in terms of supply and demand, favored by the strengthening of ties between the two countries. The reasons for this success are motivated by the quality expressed by the Made in Italy brand. It is not at all surprising that the demand for food products from Italy is increasing, as is that ofclothing

As regards i sectors most attractive places to invest in the United States, it is worth mentioning:

  • Electric energy, gas, steam and air conditioning (also from renewable sources), as it is one of the most advanced sectors in the world. Furthermore, the US is a leader in energy production and supply;
  • Motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers, as the country is investing in new technologies to meet its fuel efficiency goals for this century. This leads to many opportunities for companies, as the demand for new technologies for materials and production machinery grows;
  • Other means of transport (ships and boats, locomotives and rolling stock, aircraft and space vehicles, military vehicles), sectors for which growth is expected in the coming years;
  • Machinery and equipment, as the COVID-19 pandemic has undermined the supply chains of American businesses. The challenge they face now is to make them more resilient without weakening their competitiveness.


Sell food products in the United States

Exporting food to the USA, what you need to know


Agri-food products are increasingly in demand on the US market. This data is confirmed by the fact that in the first quarter of 2023 exports in this sector reached 3.2 billion euros. We are talking in particular about cheeses, oil, wine, but also chocolate and pasta of durum wheat. 

The American market therefore demonstrates a strong appreciation for Made in Italy foods, despite the presence of legislation that can be complex to deal with, especially after the adoption of Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This law, which has regulated food safety in the country since 2016, provides for greater control by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency that regulates every aspect of food safety.

Every Italian company that wishes to export food to the USA is therefore required to prepare:

  • The HARPC plan (Hazard Analysis and Risk Based Preventive Controls) to analyze every type of risk linked to the production of the product;
  • the aforementioned plan is aimed at integrating the HACCP plan (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points), already known by Italian companies as it is mandatory in the European Union.

Not all food products are subject to these obligations: meat, milk and derivatives, alcoholic beverages above 7 degrees are excluded. These categories are governed by another jurisdiction. 

In addition to the HARPC plan, the company that wants to sell food in the USA will also have to prepare the Food Safety Plan (FSP), which must contain all the documentation relating to the preventive controls envisaged by the HARPC plan.

Then they stay the three steps are mandatory main ones to be accomplished, prior to the legislation introduced in 2016:

  • Registration with the FDA (Food Facility Registration), mandatory for all establishments that produce, transform and package food intended for consumption in the USA;
  • The appointment of the FDA Agent (or US Agent), i.e. that figure resident in the United States who must be appointed by the company to connect FDA and factory in case of urgent communications;
  • Sending Prior Notice (“advance notification”) each time a shipment is made to the United States. 


Exporting to the USA, forecasts for the future


Therefore, trade between Italy and the United States is destined to grow in the coming years. According to the 2023 Export Report, it will be in particular the investments in sustainable transition to bring a 4.6% increase in profits during 2024.

However, opportunities will grow for all those companies that wish to expand their business in the USA. Nonetheless, it will be necessary to know how to deal with this thriving market after having developed a truly effective strategy, to successfully undertake an internationalization path. 

A valid strategy will include the analysis of the American market, thecompetitor analysis, the identification of fairs and the delineation of a real action plan supported by expert figures such as that of temporary export manager.

There are many factors to consider to get started sell in the United States in a profitable way, and to avoid wasting budget and time it is recommended to receive support from professionals who know this market well thanks to the great experience gained on site.

Octagona, present with two offices in the country (New York and Orlando), can give decisive help to your business in this sense, supporting it through the intervention of experts in internationalization. To obtain more information do not hesitate to contact us. 


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