Plans are being discussed to organise a Qatar-Italy business and investment forum to spur trade growth between both countries’ private sectors, according to an official of a business confederation representing 150,000 small and major Italian companies.
According to Licia Mattioli, vice president for Internationalisation of the Confederation of Italian Industries (Confindustria), initial talks had been made between the Italian embassy in Doha and Confindustria.
Mattioli said Confindustria is the main association representing manufacturing and service companies in Italy, with a voluntary membership of more than 150,000 companies of all sizes, employing a total of 5,440,125 people.
Confindustria’s website states that its “activities are aimed at guaranteeing the central importance of companies, the drivers of Italy’s economic, social and civil development. By representing companies and their values at institutions of all levels, Confindustria contributes to social well-being and progress, and from this standpoint guarantees increasingly diversified, efficient and modern services.”
“We have been discussing with the Italian ambassador the possibility of organising in the second half of 2019 or by next year a business and investment forum, which could be held in either Qatar or Italy to open a win-win situation for both countries,” Mattioli told Gulf Times.
Italian ambassador Pasquale Salzano noted that the objectives of the proposed initiative is to create more opportunities for both countries by gathering the top players and stakeholders in Qatar and Italy’s public and private sectors.
Mattioli said, “There is still a huge potential for more growth because we are just starting, and also if you double the figures in 2017, there is a huge margin of growth. In Qatar, there is a huge demand for Italian quality, design, and brands, especially niche brands, which we have a lot in Italy.
“But aside from bespoke brands, there is also an abundance of small brands that likewise have high, world-class quality in terms of craftsmanship and design, among others. By gathering Qatari and Italian companies together, this could also play a significant role in opening more possibilities for Qatar and Italy to grow together.”
Salzano noted that the embassy plans to hold further talks with the Qatar Chamber, the Qatar Businessmen Association, and officials at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. He also said the embassy could invite these organisations to Rome “to explore further the possibilities of organising this initiative.”
Salzano said trade volume between Qatar and Italy stood at €1.4bn in the first six months of 2018, adding that he is optimistic that trade figures in 2018 would surpass the €2.3bn recorded in 2017.