Italy’s foreign minister claims country has ‘worked well’ with U.S. despite tariff dispute

he Foreign Minister and politician of the 5 Star Movement, Luigi Di Maio.
Marco Cantile | LightRocket | Getty Images

Italy has worked well with U.S. President Donald Trump, the country’s foreign affairs minister told CNBC, despite tensions over taxation and trade.

“We have only had commercial advantages in the Trump era,” Luigi di Maio, who previously served as Italy’s deputy prime minister, told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick at the European House Ambrosetti Forum on Friday.

“Our products, even during the tariff initiatives, were protected,” he said in reference to a series of additional duties imposed by the White House. The charges were placed on certain European goods in light of a long-standing transatlantic dispute over aircraft subsidies. 

The Italian government reportedly lobbied the Trump administration to avoid higher costs on Italian exports.

“The export(s) to the U.S. continue to grow, even in this moment of (the) Covid-19 crisis,” di Maio added.

However, the White House opened an investigation into Italy, and other nations, for planning to put forward new taxes on digital giants. Italy’s digital services tax of 3% is seen in Washington as unfair toward American companies.

Despite some differences, Luigi di Maio said: “The U.S. is our main partner, our ally and friend.”

“We’ve worked well with the Trump administration.”