The Italian Trade Agency (ITA) is the government organisation in charge of the international development of Italian companies. ITA provides information, support and advice on foreign markets, in line with the strategies of the Ministry for Economic Development. Through its Foreign Direct Investment Unit, ITA also facilitates the establishment and development of foreign companies in Italy.
ITA is headquartered in Rome and operates worldwide from a large network of trade promotion offices linked to Italian Embassies and Consulates and working closely with local authorities and businesses. The Dubai office, which is responsible for the UAE, Oman and Pakistan, is one of 81 existing branches of the Agency in the world. Gianpaolo Bruno, Italian Trade Commissioner to the UAE, shares his thoughts in an interview with Khaleej Times. Excerpts:
Role of ITA
The Italian Trade Agency in the UAE provides a wide range of services, which include official participation in local fairs and exhibitions, identification of possible business partners, bilateral trade meetings with Italian companies and trade
delegation visits. In addition to that, a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) desk will be opening soon in Dubai. The desk will be a permanent interface available to investors looking for concrete business opportunities in Italy: it will identify the investors’ business needs and support them during the entire life cycle of the investment, with an emphasis on the early stages of the process. Italian businesses are currently represented by over 300 companies, including units with its own branch and many others that operate through local agents.
Italy is proudly ranked as the third largest European Trade Partner of the UAE, which is the most important market for Italian exports to the MENA region. In 2015 Italian exports to the emirates totalled € 6.2 billion, the highest level ever registered, with an increase of 16.4 per cent compared to 2014. In the same year, Italy’s imports from the UAE amounted to €851 million, with an increase of 35.5 per cent over the previous year. In 2015, the bilateral total trade flows exceeded the record value of €7 billion.
Exports to the UAE
With over €1 billion of exports, jewellery and precious metals were confirmed among the products that in 2015 have mainly contributed to the high level of Italy’s exports to the UAE, followed by machinery for general use (€605 million), oil products (€365 million) and other machinery (€309 million).
Products and services
Italian products are traditionally well appreciated and renowned for their quality and flair. The latest figures show that in the first six months of 2016 — compared to the same period of 2015 — there was an increase of exports of electrical equipment (+58.2 per cent), furniture (+15.6 per cent), machinery for general use (+25.7 per cent) and other machinery for general use (+8.1 per cent). The trend in 2016, compared to the first six months of 2015, is positive also for export of apparel (+1.7 per cent) and cosmetics (+3.5 per cent).
ITA’s upcoming events in the UAE
We are going to celebrate the sixth edition of Italian Luxury Interiors (ILI), which will run from October 25 to 28 this year during Downtown Design. The ILI exhibition is definitely an ideal venue to embrace the essence of Italian style and luxury expressed through peerless pieces of interior design crafted by iconic Italian brands and designers. Sixteen Italian companies are attending this year’s exhibition. The Italian handicrafts legacy is extremely important to us and the UAE represents an ideal partner to drive the exports of premium ‘Made in Italy’ products to the Gulf region.
Dubai is getting ready to host one of the most important food related events in the Middle East, the Speciality Food Festival, which will take place from November 7 to 9, at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC.)
In this edition, Italy was chosen as the First Country Partner of the event, which comes as no surprise, considering our cultural affiliation with food and the unprecedented record of food imports to the UAE in the last few years.
Within the Italian pavilion, organised by ITA, 35 top Italian food and beverage companies will share the excellence of Italy’s unique heritage and technological knowhow with local partners.
On this occasion, the Italian Trade Agency, the Italian Cuisine World Summit and DWTC will also collaborate on a large number of promotional activities, including the “First Week of Italian Cuisine In the World,” one of the most influential events promoting Italian quality fine dining and lifestyle around the globe.
ITA will be also involved in the organisation of the Italian presence at ADIPEC, one of the largest trade fairs for the oil and gas industry. The event will take place from November 7 to 10 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.
With almost 100 Italian companies participating and an official stand organised by ITA for 24 exhibitors, the Italian Oil and Gas industry will once again be among the leading protagonists of the fair. Indeed, the UAE remains one of the most vibrant markets for oil and gas technologies and services. The country continues to run a wide-scale development programme in the field of hydrocarbons, therefore offering an attractive environment for Italian companies wishing to develop their activities in the MENA and Gulf region.
Finally, on November 9, the “Invest in Italy Global Roadshow will reach the UAE. Combining workshops to promote specific investment opportunities in Italy and B2B with the local business community, the meeting will represent the ideal setting to showcase to a qualified audience of operators and potential investors, the Italian Government’s most important reforms for enterprises and economic growth, Italy’s economic and industrial background, and Italian policies to attract foreign investments.