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Italy country brief

Italy (EU, OECD, NATO, G7, G20) and Australia have shared values, strong multilateral cooperation and growing levels of trade and investment.

Key engagement

Major Italian companies like Enel, ENI, Ghella, Salini Impregilo and Ferrero are investing in Australia.


Australia and Italy are set to ratify a treaty on science, technology and innovation cooperation.

Bilateral relations

As two highly developed and complementary G20 economies with robust international engagement and enduring people-to-people ties, Australia and Italy share a warm relationship with much scope for expansion. Trade and investment between Australia and Italy is growing. Italy and Australia cooperate on security issues, such as terrorism, and help build security capacity in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. Australia and Italy are among relatively few countries with the know-how and ambitions to collaborate in the world's key astrophysics and space projects, such as the Square Kilometre Array (the world's biggest radio telescope).

Foreign policy

Australia and Italy are pursuing stronger bilateral relations, driven by shared values and interests that are increasingly aligned by strategic developments including Brexit, and an increase in populism and discontentment with free trade. Italy is important to Australia. It is the world's eighth-largest economy. It is a founding member of the EU, its second-largest manufacturer and fourth-largest economy.

Australia's foreign policy is guided by the Foreign Policy White Paper.

Fast Facts

  • Italian visitors to Australia (2017) – 75,200
  • Australian visitors to Italy (year to Mar 2018, approx.) – 230,000
  • Resident Australian population born in Italy (2016 census) – 174,042
  • Australian residents of Italian descent (2016 census) – 1,000,013
  • Italian working holidaymakers (2017/18) – 10,500
  • Italian students in Australia (Jan-May 2018) – 6,145

High level engagement

  • 2018 – Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific Fierravanti-Wells visited Italy
  • 2018 – Australia's Governor-General and Lady Cosgrove visited Italy
  • 2017 – Former Italian Foreign Minister Alfano visited Australia
  • 2017 – Former Italian Defence Minister Pinotti visited Australia

Agreements with Italy

  • Science, Technology & Innovation Treaty
  • Australians Marrying in Italy
  • University Co-operation Framework
  • Antarctica Scientific Cooperation
  • Air Services Agreement
  • Health Assistance Agreement
  • Extradition Treaty
  • Crime Mutual Assistance Treaty
  • Cultural Cooperation
  • Double Taxation
  • Social Security
  • Economic and Commercial Cooperation
  • Working Holiday Visa
  • Defence Industry Cooperation

Public diplomacy

The Australian Embassy in Rome manages a public diplomacy program that encompasses culture, art, sport and fashion. Activities include events such as the "Wool Wonders" fashion competition, which is designed to promote Australia's wool industry and fashion designers. The event attracts considerable media coverage and builds connections between Australian entities like The Woolmark Company and potential Italian partners including designers, fashion houses and tertiary education institutions.

Australia also uses new media to promote Australian industries. The Australian Embassy is partnering with film production companies and Screen Australia to produce in Italy the third series of Plonk, a spoof documentary filmed in vineyards.

Australian Embassy in Rome
Via Antonio Bosio, 5
00161 - ROME
Tel:+39 06 8527 21
Consular Services:

Australian Consulate in Milan
(Managed by Austrade)
Via Borgogna, 2 (third floor)
20122 Milan
Tel. +39 02 7767 4200


Economic diplomacy

The Australian Embassy in Rome works with Austrade's Milan-based office to pursue Australia's economic diplomacy agenda.
Italy was Australia's 16th largest trading partner in 2017, with the combined merchandise and services trade balance favouring Italy by more than eight to one. Italy is still a relatively small investor in Australia despite its economic size, sophistication, and our people-to-people links. Nonetheless, our commercial and investment ties are growing as the Italian economy recovers and also thanks to the Australian Government's targeted economic and commercial diplomacy strategies.

Australia's investment in Italy is small and strong. It is focussed in areas such as urban redevelopment and energy, but could be much more significant – particularly when contrasted with comparable European economies such as France.

More economic and trade information can be found in the Italy Country Fact Sheet.


Austrade's Italy Business Plan 2018-19 identifies good commercial opportunities for Australian firms in these areas: renewable energy; agribusiness and food; advanced manufacturing; digital technologies; international health; international education; and infrastructure and rail. Tourism Australia's Strategic Directions 2017-2021 finds Italy is a mature and growing priority market that is likely to be worth over $1 billion by 2020.

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