The United States and Italy: Longstanding Partners, Friends

“Our true bonds come from the central shared value set, a commitment to the same principles of democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human dignity… Our principles together have produced a security partnership that has helped underpin peace and stability in the West for decades.

— U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, October 2, 2019

Secretary Michael R. Pompeo will travel to Rome, Italy, September 30 – October 2, 2020, where he will meet with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio.  The Secretary will address the ongoing response to the global pandemic, emphasize the importance of maintaining Transatlantic cooperation, and highlight the strength of our longstanding bilateral partnership.


  • The United States and Italy share a deep and enduring relationship, enriched by our people-to-people ties, long-standing economic and security partnership, and a commitment to the same values – democracy, freedom, free and fair trade, and the rule of law. As friends and NATO Allies, we cooperate on confronting some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
  • In 1861, the United States established diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Italy. At the establishment of Italy as republic in 1946, these ties were reaffirmed.  Our shared history, common democratic values, and cultural ties form the basis of our strong partnership.
  • The COVID-19 crisis hit Italy early and hard, and the United States came to Italy’s aid in the face of the pandemic. The United States government authorized a robust assistance effort of up to $100 million in COVID-19 focused foreign assistance and in-kind services.  In addition, the U.S. private sector has made a huge contribution – totaling some 50 million euros – during the emergency.  These donations are tangible signs of our friendship.
  • The Secretary, like more than 20 million Americans, counts himself as Italian-American. As the first Secretary of State of Italian descent, Secretary Pompeo was pleased to visit his ancestral home of Abruzzo in 2019, and to return to Italy in 2020.


  • Security cooperation is a key pillar of our bilateral relationship. A key NATO Ally, the United States counts on Italy to play an important role in Transatlantic security, especially due to its strategic location in the Mediterranean.  Together, we address global challenges and shared threats.
  • Italy is a steadfast partner, firming up NATO’s southern flank and playing an important role in Iraq, Kosovo, Lebanon, Libya, Afghanistan, and across the globe. Today’s global challenges underscore the importance of increased and sustained defense investment.
  • The United States and Italy work together to confront shared security threats. As the COVID-19 crisis brought to light, the international community must hold China responsible for its behavior.  Russia continues its aggressive and destabilizing behavior in Europe and around the world, as evidenced with its refusal to investigate the poisoning of opposition leader Aleksey Navalny.  This attack is another grave blow against democracy and political plurality in Russia.
  • The United States advocates for a vibrant digital economy worldwide that benefits from the promise of 5G networks. Countries must take action now to safeguard their emerging 5G networks against untrusted suppliers, because the stakes could not be higher.  The United States urges the Italian government to consider the threats to its national security and the security and privacy of its citizens posed by giving companies beholden to the Chinese Communist Party access to data transmissions across Italian networks.
  • President Trump and Prime Minister Conte announced the U.S.-Italy Strategic Dialogue in July 2018 to address threats to security and stability in the Mediterranean region.  That Dialogue is on-going, and experts from our countries meet regularly to discuss ways in which we can work together to advance peace and prosperity in the region and beyond.
  • More than 30,000 U.S troops, Department of Defense civilians, and their families call Italy home. We are grateful to Italy for serving as a welcoming host to U.S. military and civilian personnel and their families.
  • Italy hosts the headquarters of the U.S. Navy’s 6th Fleet in Naples and NATO’s Joint Force Command Naples, in nearby Lago della Patria.


  • Our economic relationship is deep and important. Two-way trade in goods between the United States and Italy last year exceeded $81 billion, while two-way trade in goods and services exceeded $103 billion.  The United States represents Italy’s largest non-EU export market.  Our investment communities have committed $78.6 billion in each other’s economies.  This partnership means more jobs, production, and economic growth as a direct result of our doing business together.
  • We are committed to working with the Italian government to facilitate economic growth in both our countries and encourage the government to continue its bold reforms and investment choices.


  • Italy and the United States share a strong commitment to educational exchanges. Before the coronavirus pandemic, more than 36,000 American students studied annually in Italy, and the number of Italian students studying in the United States was steadily increasing every year.  Post-pandemic, we will make every effort to ensure that these robust exchanges between our two countries continue.
  • The U.S.-Italy Fulbright Commission celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2018. Since 1948, our two nations have worked together to promote mutual understanding and enhance scholarship through educational exchange.  More than 14,000 Italian and American students, teachers, lecturers, and researchers have participated in the Fulbright international exchange program.
  • The U.S. Embassy in Italy launched an initiative in 2016 to revitalize the field of American Studies in Italy providing funding for courses on American literature and history. Some 21 Italian universities have participated in some aspect of the program, with 16 of them creating tenure-track positions, hiring professors, or reinstating positions in a field of American Studies.