Houston's Stake In Italy's Debt Crisis

Economist Mario Monti is preparing to form a new government in Italy, following the weekend resignation of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. What are the stakes of Italy's economic turmoil for Houston.

Fabrizio Nava is Italy’s consul general in Houston.  Like all consuls, one of his major responsibilities is watching over his home country’s commercial interests in the city where he serves.

That task cuts both ways.  More than 550 Houston companies do business in Italy, about half of which operate subsidiaries there. These days Nava is looking to reassure those businesses that their own interests aren’t at risk from Italy’s sovereign debt crisis.

“Italy committed to take the necessary steps to reassure international investors. To this effect, a number of measures have been voted into effect on Saturday. Some of these measures about austerity, but many others are aimed at fostering growth. So I don’t see the crisis on sovereign debt as affecting directly trade and investments.”

The indirect effects might be something else again. If Italy’s debt crisis pushes the country into recession, that would hurt Houston companies’ sales in Italy. Houston exports to Italy are running at about $1 billion a year.

Bio photo of Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Business Reporter

Andrew Schneider joined KUHF in January 2011, after more than a decade as a print reporter for The Kiplinger Letter...