(AGI) Bologna, June 20 - The macro-sector of instrumental machinery is powering Italy's mechanical industry, with exports of 30.3 billion in 2015 or 7.3 percent of the national total and a trade surplus of around 24.2 billion, or 53.5 percent of the country's surplus. This figure comes from "Project Industry 2030" initiated by Nomisma (a company that carries out economic research and consulting for businesses, associations and public administrations) and CRIF (a credit information systems, business information and credit management solutions company). The multi-year project is to become a benchmark for the analysis of the various dynamics of the Italian industrial system. However, this performance appears less encouraging over the medium term - 2007-2015. In this time frame, the survey shows exports growing by just 1 percent annually, with the trade balance only improving due to the simultaneous collapse of imports. In detail, the survey highlights the excellent performance of manufacturers of food industry machinery (up 37.8 percent 2007-2015), packaging (up 29.8 percent), paper and paperboard production (up 28.6 percent) and agriculture (up 21.7 percent). Machinery for the metal industry saw a slump of 30.2 percent, a decrease of 7.6 percent in the last year. For Italy, the main market for instrumental machinery remains Europe, despite some growth in the North American share and that of Africa, which went from 5.8 percent in 2007 to 7 percent in 2015. Exports to East Asia are down (17.1 percent in 2011; 12.8 percent in 2015). The loss of competitiveness in Europe is concentrated in strategic countries such as France and Spain, and Italy - like Germany - recorded a drop in exports to high risk countries. Nomisma also measured - thanks to the CRIF-CRIBIS D&B database - the competitive strength of instrumental mechanics through an analysis of 225 major companies in the sector that had a turnover of 20 million euros in 2014. The picture that emerges shows these to be especially medium-sized companies, based mainly in Lombardy (28.9 percent), Emilia-Romagna (26.2 percent) and Veneto (24 percent). Total revenues were around 21.7 billion in 2014 with a growth of 21.3 percent since 2007 (when it was 17.9 billion). A total of 71 percent of these companies were founded before the 1990s. There are few companies in the South (1.3 percent) and only 12.9 percent were founded in the 21st century. (AGI). .