The United States established diplomatic relations with Italy in 1861 following the unification of most of the peninsula into one state. In 1941, Italy — with the other World War II Axis powers Germany and Japan — declared war on the United States. U.S. relations with Italy were reestablished in 1944. Today, the United States and Italy enjoy warm and friendly relations.
U.S. Assistance to Italy
In early 2020, when Italy became the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Europe, the United States authorized up to $100 million in Department of State Economic Support Funds (ESF) and Department of Defense Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid (ODHACA) to assist the Italian government and civil society in bringing the outbreak under control. The assistance was directed at procuring medical equipment and supplies, funding NGOs (including faith-based organizations) assisting the healthcare sector and serving vulnerable populations, assisting private companies in the medical equipment/supplies manufacturing sector, and fostering joint research.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The United States and Italy cooperate closely on major economic issues, including within the G-7. The United States is one of Italy’s most important trade partners, with two-way trade in goods and services in 2019 valued at $103.112 billion). As a member of the European Union (EU), Italy is bound by EU treaties and laws, including those directly governing or indirectly impacting business investments. Under both the EU treaty’s Right of Establishment and the Friendship, Commerce and Navigation Treaty with the United States, Italy is generally obliged to provide national treatment to U.S. investors established in Italy or in another EU member state. The two countries have enacted an income tax agreement to prevent double taxation.