The economy of Italy has changed dramatically since the end of World War II. From an agriculturally based economy, it has developed into an industrial country ranked as the world's fifth-largest economy in USD exchange-rate terms.
More recently, Italy has faced sluggish economic growth and reduced international competitiveness. However, statistics as of 2007 show signs of an acceleration in GDP growth.
Italy's closest trade ties are with the other countries of the European Union, with whom it conducts about 59% of its total trade. Italy's largest EU trade partners, in order of market share, are Germany (19%), France (13%), and the Netherlands (6%). The country belongs to the Group of Eight (G-8) industrialised nations; it is a member of the European Union and the OECD.
Major industries in Italy are precision machinery, motor vehicles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, electric goods, food, fashion and clothing.
DE Smith of MyPortfolioView