The paper compares the export trends of Italian and German goods in 2000-2009 . The comparative analysis is based not only on the indicators generally referred to in the literature, but also on a new measure of positioning by price range and two new indicators of bilateral competition between economies in the international markets. The analysis highlights the competitive repositioning of Italian companies, which in the course of 2000-2009 gained market shares in high-price productions. Nevertheless, the move has not shielded Italian companies from the competition of China. Although Chinese competition has hit the German companies too, these have shown greater resilience, becoming the preferred production partners of the Asian giant in several areas. The greater ability of Germany to establish a stable commercial presence in large countries, such as China, stems from its high level of system cohesion, the presence of large groups, and the efforts made to raise quality, leading the country to consolidate its leadership in the production of high-priced goods.
Keywords: Germany, Italy, China, international trade, export performance, specialization pattern, market shares