CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - Mar 29, 2016) - The Italian Trade Agency (ITA) today announced that Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will make his first official visit to Chicago on March 30, 2016. The visit by the Italian head of state will focus on Italian manufacturers in the Midwest at the ITA's i3 Forum=Impact. Innovate. Integrate. at the University of Chicago's Gleacher Center.

The U.S. is Italy's most important trading partner outside of the European Union with 7.5% of its total exports being sent to the U.S. In 2015, Illinois was the sixth largest importer of goods from Italy with almost $1.8 billion, an increase of almost seven percent over the previous year. Manufacturing is at the heart of this growth. In 2015, about a third of goods imported from Italy were machinery products with $516 million, followed by two sectors which had dynamic growth: chemical products with $459 million and food products with $130 million -- respectively with 86% and 14 % increases over the previous year. Closing the top four sectors of Illinois' imports was metal products at $136 million. These four sectors combined, accounted for approximately 70% of Italy's total exports to Illinois in 2015. Along with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, there are over 89 Italian companies with operations in Illinois employing almost 3,700 Illinois residents as of 2016 and of these, almost a third call Chicago home.

"It is an honor to host Prime Minister Renzi here in the City of Chicago and to celebrate our enduring partnership with Italy when it comes to being a center for jobs and innovations in advanced digital manufacturing," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "This forum not only showcases some of the results of our strong partnership with but it will also strengthen the bonds between us, creating even more jobs and opportunities for manufacturers in Chicago and in Italy."

Honored guests and speakers will include Armando Varricchio, Italian Ambassador to the U.S. and Marc Allen, Sr. Vice President The Boeing Company and President, Boeing International.

Additionally, fifteen of Italy's top manufacturing innovators in the aerospace, automotive, energy and robotics sectors will join with more than 100 invited guests from American and Italian manufacturing companies to discuss the current state of the industry and the trends expected to take place over the next several years.

The i3 Forum will feature live displays of Italian innovation including the COMAU Racer3 Robot, the iCub humanoid robot developed at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Ducati Motorcycles featuring the latest Brembo braking technology, 3D printing devices from Fonderie Digitali, and the ISSpresso, the espresso maker designed for the International Space Station (ISS) by Lavazza and Argotec.

For more information about the Forum, its supporting partners and to request an invitation to the i3 Forum, visit

About the Italian Trade Agency
The ICE-Italian Trade Promotion Agency is the government organization that promotes the internationalization of Italian companies, in line with the strategies of the Ministry for Economic Development. ICE provides information, support and advice to Italian and foreign companies. In addition to its Rome headquarters, ICE operates worldwide from a large network of Trade Promotion Offices linked to Italian embassies and consulates and working closely with local authorities and businesses. Visit and follow the ITA on Twitter @ita_chicago.

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