In the introductory paragraph, the new business climate in Eastern European countries is seen against the background of the different viewpoints that have characterised the evolution of the East/West relationships. The implications of the dramatic changes which have transformed the centrally planned economies and their relationships between the State and society are briefly discussed. The main part of the paper is concerned with the different ways in which Western companies can enter the Eastern European markets and develop their business relations there. The positive and negative aspects of export/import, collaborative agreements (with special reference to joint-ventures) and wholly owned subsidiaries are analyzed. While the old regulations no longer apply to the economic structures, the new mechanisms are not yet fully in place. This causes a series of problems, and creates a series of opportunities. The last section deals with the conduct of Italian firms. The continuity in responding to local needs, the experience gained in dealing with local environments, and the flexibility of business approaches have been instrumental for the increasing share gained by the Italians in the Eastern markets.