Economy of Italy
Italy is the 4th-largest national economy in Europe, the 8th-largest by nominal GDP in the world, and the 12th-largest by GDP (PPP). The country is a founding member of the European Union, the Euro zone, the OECD, the G7 and the G8. Italy is the eighth largest exporter in the world with $514 billion exported in 2015. Its closest trade ties are with the other countries of the European Union, with whom it conducts about 59% of its total trade. The largest trading partners, in order of market share, are Germany (12.6%), France (11.1%), United States (6.8%), Switzerland (5.7%), United Kingdom (4.7%), and Spain (4.4%).
In the post-war period, Italy was transformed from an agricultural based economy which had been severely affected by the consequences of the World Wars, into one of the world's most industrialized nations, and a leading country in world trade and exports. According to the Human Development Index, the country enjoys a very high standard of living, and has the world's 8th highest quality of life according to The Economist. Italy owns the world's third-largest gold reserve, and is the third net contributor to the budget of the European Union. The country is also well known for its influential and innovative business economic sector, an industrious (Italy is the second largest manufacturer in Europe behind Germany) and competitive agricultural sector (Italy is the world's largest wine producer), and for its creative and high-quality automobile, naval, industrial, appliance and fashion design. Italy is the largest market for luxury goods in Europe (third in the world).
Despite these important achievements, the country's economy today suffers from many and relevant problems. After a strong GDP growth in 1945-1990, the last two decades' average annual growth rates lagged below the EU average; moreover, Italy was hit particularly hard by the late-2000s recession. The stagnation in economic growth, and the political efforts to revive it with massive government spending from the 1980s onwards, eventually produced a severe rise in public debt. In addition, Italian living standards have a considerable North-South divide: the average GDP per capita in Northernand Central Italy significantly exceeds the EU average, whilst some regions and provinces in Southern Italy are dramatically below. In the Index of Economic Freedom 2015, the country ranked only 80th in the world, in particular due to the slow legal system, an excessive taxation, and a strong labour law. Economic SectorsPrimary
According to the last national agricultural census, there were 1.6 million farms in 2010 (-32.4% since 2000) covering 12.7 million hectares (63% of which are located in Southern Italy).
Italy is the first largest producer of wine in the world, and one of the leading in olive oil, fruits (apples, olives, grapes, oranges, lemons, pears, apricots, hazelnuts, peaches,cherries, plums, strawberries and kiwifruits), and vegetables (especially artichokes and tomatoes). Secondary
Italy has a smaller number of global multinational corporations than other economies of comparable size, but there is a large number of small and medium-sized enterprises. There are small enterprises of low technology but high craftsmanship, speciali zed in clothing , leather products, footwear, furniture , textiles ,machine tools, spare parts , appliances, and jewellery.
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