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Due to the fact that Italy and The Netherlands are members of the European Union it's an advantage for them to have free trade between the EU with other members. The Netherlands is pretty successful with its foreign trade and is also dependent on it to be in its good economical position. Italy is known for its tourism and it is the fifth most visited country in the world. It belongs already for decades to the important sources of Italy's income. The Netherlands had en export of 533.2 billion and an import of 475.9 billion dollar in 2008, which shows that this country has an economical excess. Italy had an export of 546.9 billion and an import of 546.9 billion dollar in 2008, which is identical and shows that it has a balanced economic.
Both countries have the same problems with high tariffs for the agriculture, since they are both members of the European Union. In Italy agriculture plays economically only a small role (approx. 2%), but it brings some important products out. Important are the viticulture, because the country is with 52 million hectoliter the second largest wine producer in the world behind France. They are also the second largest olive oil producer behind Spain, with 626.800 tons in the year 2006. For Holland it's important, that there are so many foreign trades in the Dutch stocked market.
To compare The Netherlands to Italy it is very important to show the differences between their Gross Domestic Products (GDP). In Holland the GDP amounted to 672 billion dollar, with a real growth rate of 2% in 2008 according to the CIA the world fact book. In Italy the GDP amounted to 1.823 billion dollar, with a real growth rate of -1% in 2008 according to the CIA. The GDP (composition by sectors) plays also an important role for both countries. They have pretty much the same fixed values.
Netherlands: services-72.9%, industry-25.5%, ariculture-1.7% (2008) Italy: services-71%, industry- 27%, agriculture-2%.
Both countries achieved a high result in the service sector. The Netherlands services are very important. The large financial service companies (ING, Fortis, Aegon), the ports Rotterdam and Amsterdam, Schiphol (Amsterdam Airport) are one of the five largest financial service companies in Europe. The high technological agriculture is extraordinary productive. Beside grain, sugar, vegetable, fruit and fresh-cut plants, there is still dairy cattle husbandry in large yardstick. The last point supplies the basis for cheese as important export product. Concerning to the agriculture exports, Dutch people rank on position three, behind the USA and France, with exports revenue of 55 billion dollar.
The strength of the Italian economy lies in the processing trade, especially in small and medium-size family-led companies. According to central ISTAT rank among the small companies with less than 10 persons employed. In relation to other national economies Italy has therefore less large-scale enterprises. The largest Italian enterprise based on the conversion is the oil and gas company ENI. The most important industries are the machine, airplane, (August, Alenia, Finmeccania), ship (Fincantieri) and automobile manufacture (Fiat company). The textile industry is represented very strong and stands with its well-known label quality “made in Italy”. Their major agricultural are wine and olive oil and has a high tourism.
Furthermore both countries have the euro currency. Its exchange rate is 0.769704 (Apr. 2009) in comparison to the US-dollar.
The Netherlands and Italy are important and very strong when it comes to imports/ exports. Holland has more exports then imports whereas Italy's shows an identical result. The Netherlands export/ import partners are Germany, Belgium, UK, France, China, US, Russia and Italy (2008). Italy's export partners are Germany, France, Spain, US, UK, China, Netherlands, Libya and Russia (2008). The main trades in Holland are chemicals, fuels; foodstuffs, clothing, machinery and equipment. In Italy it's engineering products, textiles and clothing, production machinery, motor vehicles, transport equipment, chemical; food, beverage and tobacco; minerals and nonferrous metals.
To compare those to countries it's important to take a look at their external debt. The Netherlands amounted to 2.47 trillion dollar (2008) and Italy amounted to 2.328 trillion dollar (2008). Finally it shows that Dutch people are doing better than Italian people if you discount the total population.
Italy has a very good label concerning the textile and clothing, which is popular for “made in Italy”. It is also the fifth most visited country in the world behind France and is a very important source of Italy's income. Furthermore the country is strong in producing wine and olive oil. It is ranked on position 2 regarding to both aspects. Olive oil: 626.800 tons (2006). Wine: 52 million hectoliter. So Italy's strength is pretty much that they have high quality product, which are trustful.
Since Italy is a member of the European Union it has the problems like the other countries. The subsidies and tariffs are very high for agriculture but every member has to life with this. In addition Italy was always known for its “sick man of Europe” characterized by economy stagnation, problems in pursuing reform programs and political instability. Italy also suffers because it doesn't have enough like raw materials and energy resources. Another point is that this country's infrastructure is not good developed, so it makes itself felt in a weaker economy. The last point is that the country has an inefficient state bureaucracy, low property rights protection and high level of corruption, heavy taxation and public spending that accounts for about half of the national GDP.