Brazil and Italy have long enjoyed good relations, with intensive political dialogue, exchange of views on current international issues and social and cultural proximity. The large number of Brazilians of Italian origin, estimated at over 30 million (considered the largest community outside of Italy), the presence of Brazilian communities in major Italian cities and a tourist flow from both sides (on average over 300 thousand Brazilians visit Italy every year and more than 240 thousand Italian visit Brazil) certainly contribute to enhance the relationship. In recent Italian elections, three Parliamentarians (one Senator and two Representatives) were elected with the votes of the Italian community in Brazil.
The political dialogue between both countries has been conducted fluidly and at the highest level. A few recent meetings were of special importance, namely, the meeting between Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and the President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, in March 2013, in Rome; Vice-President Michel Temer's visit to Rome in September 2012; the meeting between the Foreign Ministers Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado and Emma Bonino in September 2013, in New York; and two meetings in 2013 between the Secretaries General of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs – the first in February in Brasilia, for political consultations, and the second in Rome, in October, for the 5th Brazil-Italy Cooperation Commission, composed of authorities from the public and private sectors, and for new political consultations.
Both countries have had a common perspective on many current international issues, especially in promoting the values of democracy, the peaceful settlement of disputes and the respect for the Rule of Law.
This coincidence of views, along with the historical proximity between the two countries, has enabled the elevation of the bilateral relation to the status of Strategic Partnership in 2007. Brazil and Italy base such Partnership on their willingness to work, closely, in favor of international peace and security, of the respect for human rights, of the strengthening of multilateralism, of environment protection, of disarmament and non-proliferation and of the promotion of development with social justice. In April 2010, an Action Plan to deepen bilateral partnership, with 16 key areas for cooperation between both countries, was signed.
In regard to Defense, a field in which the relation is marked by the success of the joint development of the AMX fighter jet (produced by the Italian companies Aeritalia and Aermacchi and Brazilian Embraer), the Action Plan aims at bringing together the industries of both countries and at transferring technology.
In the economic and trade sphere, the Plan underscores that Brazil and Italy intend to increasingly use their support agencies to stimulate investment, industrial cooperation and bilateral trade, with a view to encouraging the use of new financial mechanisms to expand access to credit and to increase bilateral trade.
The Action Plan also envisages initiatives to deepen the bilateral political dialogue and the cooperation in space, energy, cultural and academic areas, among others.
Italy is a leading partner in the Science without Borders program. Over 2000 Brazilian scholarship holders have been studying at Italian institutions and it is expected that this number amounts to 6000 by 2015. The Science Without Borders' network in the country comprises 19 universities and research institutes of recognized academic excellence.
Both countries also maintain important cooperation in scientific and technological areas, based on the Agreement concluded in 1997. In 2013, the first meeting of the Joint Commission on Science and Technology facilitated a meeting between representatives from research universities and public agencies of both countries.
Equally important is the economic dimension of the relation. As 2015 data show, Italy continues to rank among the top 10 trading partners of Brazil. In 2015, bilateral trade reached 7.94 billion dollars. Also in terms of investment and job creation the relation is intense. Italy stands in 10th place among the countries that invest in Brazil. According to the Brazilian Central Bank (2013 data), the sum of Italian investments in Brazil corresponds to US$ 17.9 billion. Italian companies have steadily expanded their business in the Brazilian market. Currently, over 900 companies are operating in the country, in various industries. It is estimated that Italian companies employ approximately 150,000 direct employees. In Italy, the stock of Brazilian investments is distributed in banking, aviation, food, leather processing, communications, compressors for refrigeration and footwear.
Another promising point is called "trilateral cooperation". From the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in 2007, Brazil and Italy have been seeking joint initiatives in favor of third countries. An example is the "Amazon without Fire" program – which, after being successfully carried out in Brazil, was implemented in Bolivia with the joint support of the Brazilian and Italian Governments.
Chronology of bilateral relations
1861 – Recognition of the Kingdom of Italy by the Brazilian Empire
1870 – Beginning of Italian immigration to Brazil
1891 – Recognition of the Brazilian Republic by Italy
1942 – Brazil declares war on Germany and Italy
1944 – Full restoration of diplomatic relations between Brazil and Italy and embarkation of the first contingent of FEB troops to Italy
1965 – First visit of an Italian President, Giuseppe Saragat, to Brazil
1975 – Chancellor Azeredo da Silveira visits Italy
1997 – State Visit of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso to Italy
2000 – State Visit of President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi to Brazil
2005 – President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva visits Italy
2007 – President of Council of Ministers, Romano Prodi, visits Brazil and signing of Brazil-Italy Strategic Partnership
2009 – President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva visits Italy for the G-8 Meeting and the FAO World Summit on Food Security, and for meetings with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
2010 – President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva meets with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in Washington, on the margins of the Nuclear Security Summit; signing of the Plan of Action of the Strategic Partnership; Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi visits Brazil
2012 – Vice-President of Republic Michel Temer visits Rome
2013 – President Dilma Rousseff and President Giorgio Napolitano meet in Italy
2013 – Foreign Ministers Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado and Emma Bonino meet in New York
2018 – Visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy, Angelino Alfano (Brasília, February 22)