Bilateral trade between Qatar and Italy is expected to get a boost once the international export distribution centre of hypermarket giant LuLu in Milan commences operations, Italian ambassador Alessandro Prunas said.
“I’m sure it will play a significant role in increasing the bilateral trade between Qatar and Italy, which is not limited to food stuff and other exports of high-quality Italian products to this country.
“We have an incredibly wide range of products that are being traded between our two countries,” Prunas told Gulf Times
during a recent launch event between the Italian embassy and LuLu Hypermarket.
Dr Mohamed Althaf, director, LuLu Hypermarkets, Qatar
In a speech during the event, Dr Mohamed Althaf, director, LuLu Hypermarkets, Qatar, said LuLu “has completed the formation of [its] Italian brand in Italy.”
He said small businesses will stand to gain from the distribution centre, which will facilitate for them procedures, such as halal certification, traceability, reliability of ingredients, and payment plans, among others.
“It is almost ready and we expect a huge increase in the bilateral trade between Qatar and Italy. There are many companies in Italy that want to export…the facility would provide small businesses access to international markets; they are just waiting for us to open now,” said Althaf.
“In terms of resources that Italy has and its logistics connections with Qatar, Italian companies are very mature to export; we have a very active trade agency working in Qatar,” added Althaf, referring to the Italian Trade Agency (ITA), which is the Trade Promotion Section of the Italian embassy in Qatar.
ITA trade commissioner Giosafat Rigano noted that Italian food exports to Qatar stood at “almost €23mn to €24mn” — a 9.2% growth in the first six months of 2020, while the overall exchange between both countries amounted to “€1bn in the same period.”
He said total trade between Qatar and Italy stood at “almost €3bn” in 2019, adding that the ITA is “optimistic” that trade figures “will be positive by the end of the year” despite the impact of Covid-19 in the global economy.
The Italian embassy and LuLu recently launched the ‘Let's Eatalian — Authentically Italian Products Promotion in Qatar 2020-2021’ at LuLu Hypermarket — Al Messila, to promote sales of Italian food products in Qatar.
According to Prunas, the Italian products available at LuLu have been certified by Coldirreti, the leading Italian organisation of cultivators representing half-million Italian farmers.
“All food products have been certified by Italy’s leading farmer’s association; and we’re talking about niche products that are high in quality and competitive in terms of pricing because they cut through middlemen and go straight to the source, which LuLu understands well.
“By doing a deal directly with the farmers’ association, you are cutting a number of costs, and at the same time get access to a wide range of high-quality products at a lower price, and that is the key to this incredible partnership,” Prunas said.