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Business view: Giancarlo Lanna, Chairman, SIMEST
Earlier this month, a delegation of Italian businessmen visited the UAE to strengthen economic ties. In this special piece, a key figure from the group tells us why the bond is so important.
November 23, 2010 2:17 by shafeer
Situated at the crossroads between East and West, the UAE has seen plenty of trade missions come and go with promises of large scale link-ups and big business deals. I like to think this one was different.
Our high level Italian economic mission to the UAE – let’s call it Brand Italia – was never about size or scale. Quite the opposite, in fact: it was about opening a dialogue with the numerous small and medium sized enterprises that make up 90 percent of the Italian economy – the very groups I represent through SIMEST.
Like modern day Marco Polos, 300 representatives from more than 130 Italian companies retraced the ancient Silk Route in a bid to strengthen trade ties with the UAE. Already, more than 200 Italian companies operate within the UAE, two-way trade is worth €4 billion a year, and Italy is the EU’s third biggest exporter to the UAE – but I want to see us do even more to expand those links, in both directions.
Because if we came here to increase collaboration and promote new opportunities in energy, retail and construction, we also came to capture the interest and imagination of the UAE’s businesses and attract them to the Italian market – focusing their attention on the huge range of Italian assets that can in turn be traded in the broader Middle East market of nearly 300 million consumers.
Italy is justifiably world famous for its design, its engineering and its meticulous attention to detail. Fashion simply wouldn’t be fashion without its Italian flavour. But as well as our uncompromising focus on quality and finish, the other big strength of Italian business is our long tradition of innovation and technological development – a tradition that has seen us weather the global economic storm much better than other countries in the West.
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