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Quarterly magazine on-line, February / April 2018


Special Edition

H.E. Saqer Nasser AlRaisi

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Editorial by Barbara Ganetti

For Italy, Emirates (UAE) are representing the main market for the exportations in the MENA area, for various years. The main sectors for our exportations to the UAE are firmly focused on jewelry, industrial machineries, mechanical products, electronics and electromechanical. There are high growth perspectives also in other different sectors. Thanks to the remarkable development and infrastructural programs foreseen by the Emirates Government in various infrastructural sectors, especially after the awarding of EXPO 2020 in Dubai, and with the announcement of the Dubai new international airport construction, the perspectives for our companies – in particular the medium and the large ones, with previous international experience – to obtain orders for the realization of civil works, both in the public and in the private sector, are high. There is also the place for some SME as sectoral suppliers or as sub-contractors. The solid export performance in the first semester of 2017 allowed Italy to reconquer

the 10th place among UAE main providers, to the detriment of South Korea, with a total market share of 3%. Among the competitors countries, at the 1st place India is strengthening, with a 15,6% of market share, China, despite some losses, is settling around 14% and, at the 3rd place US with 9,7%. The Turkey performance is really interesting: it has passed from 2,2% in 2016 to a currently 5,67%, actually it has matched Germany that still is at the 4th place among the UAE providers, with 5,8% of market share, but that has lost more than 20% of its sales volume, if compared with last year. In this special issue, thanks to the cooperation of the United Arab Emirates Embassy, we desire to inform our readers regarding the potentialities of this wonderful country, shedding light on the big commercial opportunities for our Italian companies. We recommend the exclusive interview with H.E. Mr. Saqer Nasser Al-Risi Ambassador of UAE in Italy. Enjoy the read

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Sommary 6

Interview with H.E. Saqer Nasser AlRaisi, UAE Ambassador to the Italian Republic.


Interview with Mr. Gianpaolo Bruno, Director of ICE Dubai, for “The Progress Time”.

11 Interview with Mr. Mario Mancini, President of the Arab-Italian Cooperation Chamber.




THE PROGRESS TIME Quarterly magazine on-line, February / April 2018 Aut.Trib. di Arezzo n. 4/13RS del23/07/2013 Aut. Modifiche dal Tribunale di Arezzo del 02/07/2015 EDITOR Mr. Ivan De Stefano EDITOR IN CHIEF Mrs. Barbara Ganetti GRAPHIC & WEB DESIGNER Mr. Tosi Lucio TRASLATOR Ms. Giulia Ruzzenenti QUESTO NUMERO È STATO FINITO DI IMPAGINARE IL 12/02/2018 CONTATTI -

Interview with H.E. Saqer Nasser AlRaisi, UAE Ambassador to the Italian Republic. By Ivan De Stefano

H.E. Saqer Nasser AlRaisi Your Excellency, the United Arab Emirates is considered for Italy - since several years - the main market for its export in the Middle East and North Africa. What are the prospects for the growth of Italian companies in 2018? Specifically, in which sectors? The relations between the Italian companies and the UAE are in constant evolution, as we are witnessing an increase in the presence of these companies in the UAE’s market, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, which find in the UAE a unique environment for investment and consider it a global market and a gateway to the Region and Asia. Moreover, I think that the incentives provided by the State for these companies and the availability of

modern logistics infrastructure, in addition to the adoption of the latest technology and administrative facilities, are essential elements for the development of any business project. The wise vision of the State that considers the foreign companies based in the UAE as national companies by dealing with them as partners of the State and the society, has strengthened the confidence of these companies in us, which led eventually to their stability and success, taking into account that the Government has worked to provide them with all what would protect, support and develop their business. It is hard to identify one important sector among these multidisciplinary companies, but I can say that we are following all sectors with equal care, and we are studying all sectors so that they can achieve sustained growth. However, I can say that the clean energy, research and technology do represent the most important concern to the vision of our Country which is oriented towards guaranteeing a future based on security, stability and happiness to the whole world. What are the development and infrastructure plans that the Government expects in the infrastructure sector in the light of Expo 2020? What are the available potentials for Italian companies to access these projects? The Expo 2020 is not an ordinary event that regards the UAE only. On the contrary, it will be a shift point for many companies that want to participate from all over the world, because it would be an exceptional platform that allows the global community to work together with the intent of discovering innovative and lea-

ding solutions regarding the 3 topics (sustainability - transportation - opportunities). It will be the first Expo that allows two-thirds of the world’s population to reach it within a period not exceeding 8 hours by plane, bearing in mind that the UAE hosted about 9 million visitors over the past year alone, and is expected to attract about 25 million visitors during EXPO, 70% of whom coming from outside the country, as the number of hotel rooms will exceed 80.000, and the area of the event will cover 438 hectare at the Dubai Trade Center. All of the above requires the concerted efforts of everyone for the success and the achievement of this important event. I think that the Italian companies who are cur-

rently present in the UAE, and those that are seeking now to enter the business market, play an important role whether in the preparations and infrastructure phase or in their direct participation in the exhibition, considering the prestigious reputation along with the sufficient expertise that allow the Italian companies to compete with the world’s most important companies. It is important to mention that our Embassy has held various informative seminars on EXPO Dubai 2020, in which many Italian companies, entities and universities participated, and we are ready to provide any assistance to them and answer any questions that can help them take part in EXPO, and I wish them all the best.

The demand for tourism by customers in the UAE is characterized as luxurious, with a cultural level between medium and high. Moreover, travel is continuing to grow, according to the latest data. In view of the steady increase in the influx of travelers from Italy, whether for tourism or business, what are the new opportunities for tourism growth in both directions between the two countries?

cultural diversity. On the other hand, Italy is considered among the most important touristic destinations for the UAE nationals, and the Italian people among the closest to us. We cherish the friendship that binds us together. The atmosphere, originality, history and nature of Italy are sufficient and encouraging elements to visit it. In addition, we are working to develop formal programs specialized in medical tourism which will contribute certainly to recognize Italy and increase the number of tourists visiting it from our side The United Arab Emirates is still proving - and in an increasing manner - to be a global financial center, seeking in essence to be an important international center. What are the projects implemented by the Government that can provide prospects for increased Italian participation in the financial sector?

The number of weekly flights between the two countries reaching 49 indicates the strength of the relationship between the two countries. Last year, over 250 thousand Italian citizen visited the UAE, and I think that these figures will be rising, considering the distinctive features offered by each of the two countries in terms of diversity. On one hand, the UAE provides the Italian tourists with luxury and cosmopolitan modernity. The presence of more than 200 nationalities, representing more than 150 nations and using 100 dialects in the UAE, is an evidence of the openness of the Emirati thought towards the world. That said, the UAE was able to balance the respect of pluralism and the high level of security. The UAE came after Finland in terms of low crime rates, according to the economic security report issued by the World Economic Forum in 2016. This atmosphere of openness surrounds the visitor with the sensation of safety and comfort during their stay. Add to this, the numerous places of entertainment, relaxation and great

Saudi Arabia aims to achieve long-term finanThe UAE is working to keep up with the international global policies and it is attracting all that would increase opportunities for existing partnerships on its territory. The distinctive location of the State besides the infrastructure and logistics - such as airports and ports - play an important role in promoting its economic status. Moreover, the UAE’s Vision 2021 launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum - UAE’s Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai - which aims to make the UAE among the best countries in the world, in terms of economic and social development by the golden jubilee of the Union, will have a significant impact on the development of all sectors, including the financial sector, which constitutes the backbone of investments and life for the progress of the nations. In addition, the opening of branches of European and Italian banks in the UAE will boost the investor’s confidence from both sides and thus will increase cooperation and partnerships with our Italian friends.

Interview with Mr. Mario Mancini, President of the Arab-Italian Cooperation Chamber. by Ivan De Stefano

Which new opportunities are foreseeable for Italian companies in view of Expo 2020 Dubai? Italy’s economic system is facing the challenge of the 2020 Universal Exposition with important perspectives, also due to the fact that Arab markets are highly attractive for our national production system. Figures show that the exchange between Italy and the 22 countries members of the Arab League (Middle East and North Africa) is sensibly growing and, among those countries, the United Arab Emirates has indeed a prominent place. In 2016, the trade volume with this Gulf country grew by 64%, a remarkable result which was achieved in 2017, too. Italy will be present at this appointment, which represents a unique occasion for international dialogue, with all the

experience gained during Expo 2015 Milan. An experience which it can definitely pass on also to the organizers. In Dubai, Italian companies will be at the forefront to promote our excellencies, both in terms of products and of know-how. Initial figures, totally approximate, tell us that the Italian companies on the field for Expo 2020 Dubai are 780, 7 out of 10 are SMEs. Moreover, several have already signed for important projects, including, in particular, the dome of the central square of Expo Dubai, one of the most iconic works of the whole complex. Apart from the UAE, among the most important trade partners of our country, Arab countries represent a great opportunity for Italy and for its production system. A recent study led by SACE proves that, too, and forecasts an average annual growth rate of Italian export to the region between 2

and 4% in 2020. The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, Morocco, Algeria and Egypt on the southern shore of the Mediterranean are the most promising destinations for “Made in Italy” products. In those countries, the demand will indeed be boosted by the big projects connected to events such as Expo 2020, as well as by economic diversification programmes and by the development of the building, infrastructural, energy, health and textile sectors. Your Chamber also organizes meetings between Arab economic delegations and Italian entrepreneurs: which are the upcoming events in your agenda? The most important event will be the International Italian and Arab Enterprises’ Fair scheduled in Bari from May 3 to 5. An event organized in cooperation with Puglia Region, the first Italian region to sign a memorandum of understanding and cooperation with our Chamber. 30 Arab companies and 120 Italian companies from this region will participate in the event: such an important attendance will turn the Fair into one of the most significant rendez-vous in the Mediterranean

in 2018. It will focus on six Arab countries particularly receptive to products such as machinery, advanced mechanics, green economy, building materials, biomedical devices and cosmetics, all related to strategic sectors of Puglia Region’s economy. Those countries are Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, countries towards which, according to the Italian National Institute of Statistics Istat, exports over the first three quarters of 2017 are already exceeding 106.5 million euros, with an increase by 2.2% over the same period of 2016. The Fair will be a showcase for the opportunities of cooperation and business for Puglia Region’s companies in the six Arab countries, as well as for

the attractiveness and innovativeness of this region. Thematic seminars, bilateral meetings between local and Arab companies and visits to companies will be on the programme. Over the year, the Chamber will continue to be present in the most important international fairs and will organize some business missions to several countries, among which certainly also the UAE. For several years, Italy has been supplying products and services to the United Arab Emirates, and in the final part of 2017 it ranked tenth in the list of suppliers, to the detriment of other countries: which sectors, apart from the long-established ones, could find a way into this market in the next two years? Cosmetics are a really growing sector. Perspectives for Italian companies are promising. Also in this case, figures are illustrative: 2016 ended with a 4.3 billion record in Italian export (an increase by 12.7%). The foreign component of the demand supports the growth of the production. 2017 ended with a further increase, by 10%, of around 4.7 billion. A performance evidently destined to affect also the balance of payments which will move closer to 2.4 billion, an all-time record for the sector. The United Arab Emirates is one of the markets in which the increase of Italian brands is more marked (+14.9%).

Figures which are destined to grow also thanks to the Halal certification of numerous cosmetic products. In general, the Emirati market, always attracted to Italian luxury, fashion and jewelry above all, is also interested in highcreativity products which are in the end those which have caused the expansion of Italian

export worldwide over the last years. I am talking about design and furniture, which are often actual works-of-art, particularly coveted by big businesspeople. Leather goods and footwear, quality and niche food and the traditional sector of precision mechanics, which represent another Italian excellence worldwide, are interesting sectors, too. How much can financial supports affect the internationalization process of an Italian company wanting to start trade relations with the UAE? They are decisive, especially for small- and medium-sized companies. They are decisive particularly at the beginning, for those who want to undertake a process of internationalization which is complex, long and which requires not only much preparation but also a change in mentality and, obviously, adjustments in the organization of work and production within the company. In any case, the financial facilities available for internationalization are indeed numerous, starting from national and

regional ones, with specific tenders to help companies aim at foreign markets. In addition to the role played by several bodies which in various ways provide financial aids, training, organizational support and meetings to prepare companies for international markets, such as the Arab-Italian Cooperation Chamber, there exist also two entities, SACE and SIMEST, which offer a range of competitive financial and insurance instruments useful to Italian companies in order to compete and to grow internationally. In any case, financial support, also public and institutional, must be accompanied also by other elements, such as among others, the appraisal of the investment in an internationalization project, the verification of the convenience and of the economic and financial feasibility of the internationalization project, the criteria for choosing and assessing the guarantees in trade relations and the BankCompany relation in operating abroad. In conclusion: going abroad can represent a great opportunity for a company, but also a big risk. That is why it takes much preparation and knowledge. Money itself, even in the form of a subsidy, alone is never sufficient.

Interview with Mr. Gianpaolo Bruno, Director of ICE Dubai, for “The Progress Time�. by Ivan De Stefano

Dear Director, the ICE Office in the UAE has supported Italian companies for trade collaborations since 1988, nowadays, what are the new markets foreseen for small and medium sized Italian enterprises in the Emirates? The UAE has experienced one of the most impressive and fast economic development patterns in the world. Nowadays it is a multicultural melting pot of people who have decided to establish their residence and to take advantage of the wide array of job opportunities as well as to benefit from the high standards of living. Hence there is a very diversified domestic demand for consumer as well as investment goods in sectors in which Italian SMEs are indeed highly specialized and enjoy many comparative advantages. Furthermore, the country is a very important international touristic and logistic hub and this adds up to the domestic economic activity. However it is also a very competitive and complex market and Italian companies need to learn how to structure consistent internationalization strategies in order to overtake barriers to entry and to cope with a peculiar regulatory environment in order to avoid business risks. Are there some interests from Emirati entrepreneurs for the transfer of the Italian Know-How? If yes, in what sectors? Italy has always been regarded as an important source of technology and

manufacturing capability. Opportunities for cross-fertilization exist in different segments of the economy, from the energy sector to infrastructure development, from the agribusiness value chain to high-tech. Having said this, it has to be stated that the UAE has become a major platform for innovative activities from all over the world as innovation is one of the major drivers of the economic diversification process that is taking place. Therefore there are also many opportunities for Italian entrepreneurs to benefit from knowledge transfers stemming from this evolution.

Expo 2020 will create huge commercial and touristic opportunities for the UAE: what is the role that Italian medium sized companies will play in this context? Expo2020 will of course represent a great platform for business opportunities in the country and the whole region. Italian Middle Sized Enterprises could certainly play an important role in terms of enhancing their presence in these markets, deploying consistent market strategies to reap the benefits of this important event. It has to be understood that

Expo2020 opportunities are creating a very competitive arena and in order for Italian companies to succeed they need to be highly focused, innovative, strongly organized and with the right partnerships with local firms. What are the new appointments addressed to Italian companies and organized by the Dubai ICE Office for the year 2018? For 2018 we have a fully-fledged pipeline of major trade fairs for the agri-food, jewelry, design, energy/water/environment, health sectors in which we are going to introduce dozens of Italian companies to the market. We are also in the process of launching a series of promotional activities to create awareness of Expo2020 business opportunities in Italy and to present top Italian suppliers to Expo2020 Organizing Committee. For more specific details, we invite Italian companies to visit the website and contact our office:

Control Panel for Elevator and Plc system

- Electric components (power contractors and relais) - Electronic components (resistors, IC, condensators, transistors ) - Electronic microprocessor board on demand

Production base: Via Mottoscarone 101. 28019 Suno (NO) Italy - email:

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