Italy eyes investments from UAE ahead of Expo Milano 2015






Two days ahead of Expo Milano 2015, the Italian government appointed a trade mission to Dubai to explore investment and tourism potential between the two countries.

Despite the fact it is a perfect time to attract investors to Italy during the Expo, the overall weak economic situation and the euro’s depreciation increases business potential and competitiveness for Italian firms, Giovanni Favilli, Consul General of Italy in Dubai, told Gulf News during a presentation of Italian commerce and trade mission to the UAE.

“Italy is very good as an export market. We export the three FFFs — food, fashion and Ferrari — to the whole world, and the currency depreciation makes exports cheaper, and in turn increases profit margin,” he said.

Promoting business opportunities across Italy, the mission focused its presentation on Calabria, an Italian region situated in the south of the country, for its natural and cultural heritage values, Favilli said. He added that through this mission, Italian government is looking to attract different businesses from the UAE worth billions of euros, across sectors.

Justifying the mission to the UAE, Silvia Tropea, Project consultant, said: “There has been an significant increase in Italian exports to the emirate, especially in sectors including machineries, equipment and tools, jewellery, metal and metal products. Compared to 2011, performance of computer and electronics exports in 2014 registered the highest growth at 41,3 per cent followed by food at 39.5 per cent,” she said.

In general, since 2010 Italian exports have been steadily rising. In 2014, it reached €398 billion, up two per cent from the previous year, boosted by increase in sales to the European Union (by 3.7 per cent) and the United States (10.2 per cent).

Italy’s exports mostly comprise machinery and equipment (18.3 per cent of total exports); metals and metal products (11.7 per cent); textiles and clothing (11.5 per cent); transport (9.5 per cent); and food and beverages.

In 2014, Italy’s main export partners were Germany (12.4 per cent), France (11 per cent), the United States (7 per cent), Switzerland (5.2 per cent) and the United Kingdom (5 per cent).

Mission’s target

Tropea said that the main aim of the mission is to encourage the opportunities of investment in Calabria and across different sectors — to promote the image and the quality of the so called “Made in Calabria” to the emirate’s consumers … “as well as to enhance the trade, commercial and industrial relations between the UAE and Italy across several business sectors including mainly agro-food, furniture and oil and gas.”

She added that “food” is one of the milestones of the Italian exports worldwide. “From January until October 2014, food exports to the UAE increased by seven per cent compared to the same period last year,” she said.

Cocoa, chocolate and sugar exports to the UAE reached €28 million in 2014, marking a 23 per cent increase over 2013, Tropea said.

Food, innovation and sustainability are the main areas along which Expo Milano 2015 is being developed. However, it is more than an agro-food exhibition — it deals with two of the most important issues facing the world today; food security and environmental sustainability, Favilli said.

“Under the main theme, ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’, Calabria aims to represent the value of its agro-food tradition by including it in a naturalistic and cultural heritage.” he said.