ABRUZZO - Economy
Small and large businesses against an agricultural backdrop
The structure of production in the region reflects the transformation of the economy from agriculture to industry and services. Agriculture, involving small holdings, has succeeded in modernising and offering high-quality products. Although industry has developed strongly, it retains weak points due to the existence of only a few large businesses alongside a huge fabric of small and medium-sized businesses. Both pure and applied research are carried out in the region, where there are major institutes and factories involved in research in the fields of pharmaceutics, biomedicine, electronics, aerospace and nuclear physics. The industrial infrastructure is spread throughout the region in industrial zones which have already been mentioned, the most important of which are Val Pescara, Val Sangro, Val Trigno, Val Vibrata and Conca del Fucino. A further activity worthy of note is seaside and mountain tourism, which is of considerable importance to the economy of the region.
Traditional crafts alongside advanced technologies
The mostly small, agricultural holdings produce wine, cereals, sugar beet, potatoes, olives, vegetables, fruit and dairy products. Traditional products are saffron and liquorice.
Industry in Abruzzo has some major private or state-controlled companies located in development zones but with their head offices outside the region. SIV (glass) and Magneti Marelli (car batteries and starter motors) in Val Trigno, Honda (motorcycles) and Sevel (vans) in Val Sangro, Montefluos (chlorine), Italcementi (cement), Fater (Pharmaceuticals) and Pirelli (transmission belts) in Val Pescara, Italtel (telephones) and Selenia (electronics and aerospace) in L'Aquila, Texas Instruments (digital circuits) in Avezzano, and Fiat (car components) in Sulmona are some of the main ones. In many areas - most notably in Val Vibrata - a network of small businesses specialising in fur and leather goods has been set up. Another example is Fara San Martino, where there are three businesses making pasta products.
The distributive trades and advanced services are particularly in evidence in Pescara, a specialised regional and interregional centre. Tourism is also increasing in importance.
The region's contribution in 2000 to the gross value added of Italy was under 2%. Per capita GDP is under the national average and represents about 84% of the EU average.
The share of gross value added generated by the agricultural and industrial sectors in 2000 in the total gross value added of the region is over the national average, the gap being more important for agriculture. On the opposite, the share of the gross value added generated by the services sector (66.8%) was below the national average (69.2%) in 2000.