Milan, the biggest city in Lombardy
With the aim of strengthening business relations between Serbia and Italy, the Government of Italy will, in association with the Foreign Trade Institute (ICE), launch a credit line worth 30 million euros as of March, which will be used for financing the projects of enterprises and municipal authorities in Serbia.
- Serbia is a very interesting market for Italian medium-sized enterprises, especially in the trade sector. On the other hand, without an institutional support and with very poor administrative capacities, Serbian companies are not able to enter the market of Italy, which is our most important foreign-trade partner - it was pointed out during the meetings between businessmen from Italy and Serbia, which were held on February 1 and 2 in the premises of the Palace of Italy in Belgrade.
Serbian-Italian business meetings
Fabio Corsi, the ICE Mission Director, announced in Belgrade that that institute would help Serbian companies prove themselves in the markets of Italy and Lombardy:
- What is necessary are additional financial instruments that would make administrative capacities stronger. That is why the Government of Italy plans to launch a credit line worth 30 million euros in March, which will be used towards financing the projects of enterprises and municipal authorities in Serbia. The funds will be intended for the sectors of agriculture, infrastructure and public utility services - Mr. Corsi explained.
In the first phase of the project aimed at connecting the economies of Serbia and Italy, eleven companies from Lombardy presented their products in Belgrade to entrepreneurs in Serbia. In the next phase, companies from Serbia will have an opportunity to present themselves during a return visit in March 2011.
The Italian companies that presented their products to potential partners in Belgrade operate in the domains of textile, machine and construction industry.
- At this moment we are examining all possibilities for business cooperation. We are currently focused on trading. Serbia is an interesting market for Italian medium-sized enterprises because it is recovering from the crisis - Mr. Corsi said in a statement for eKapija.
Fiat, a magnet for Italian enterprises
Mr. Corsi pointed out that Serbia was also interesting because of favorable trade agreements with Russia, countries of central Asia, Turkey. Italy finds Serbia one of the most important trade partners, while particularly interesting is the investment by the company Fiat.
- The arrival of Fiat will definitely attract many manufacturers of automobile components from Italy, some of which are present at the meetings in Belgrade. Most companies that have decided to present themselves in this way have so far had no contact with Serbia. However, the largest number of companies that attend these meetings have a well-developed cooperation with Russia, which is why they consider developing logistic and production capacities in Serbia once they establish trade relations with Serbian partners. The aim of the first phase of promotion of business relations is trade, while that cooperation is later expected to lead to relocation of Italian companies to Serbia – Mr. Corsi pointed out.
Lamberto Castellotti, a representative of one of 11 companies that visited Belgrade, also speaks about the interest of Italian companies in doing business in Serbia. Mr. Castellotti is the Director of the company Italpresse and the consortium Brescia Export, which gathers 135 companies from all industrial sectors.
- For start, we are interested in getting familiar with Serbian enterprises in the field of automotive industry. We are attracted by Fiat`s investment worth nearly EUR 1 billion, which is the reason why we plan to start joint production of automobile components with Serbian partners in the years to come. The arrival of Italpress is also significant for other members of the consortium because some of them will surely follow our example - Mr. Castelloti said in a statement for eKapija.
Massimo Metelli, the Director of the Italian Agency for Russia, said that economic and scientific cooperation would be a base for Italian-Serbian cooperation.
- So far we have identified 10 to 12 scientific institutions that are interested in coming to Serbia and establishing a cooperation with Serbian partners. We have made a contact with several significant institutions in Serbia such as the Oncology Institute, Vinca Institute of Nuclear Science, the Food Technology Institute in Novi Sad and some other institutes engaged in biotechnology, medicine, agriculture, ecology, environment protection. The project implementation is planned to start with meetings between representatives of Serbian and Italian scientific centers, which should be held in Belgrade between March 7 and 9 – Mr. Metelli stressed.
Lombardy is very interested in scientific-technological cooperation because over 80% of Italy`s biotechnology industry is situated in that region.
Paola Belusci from the Sector for industrial cooperation and relations with international organizations of the ICE says that Italy is acknowledged around the world in the fields of medicine and biotechnology, oncology in particular, and that the cooperation between Lombardy and Serbia can be established within these frames.
– Biotechnology and related sciences in Serbia have a rich tradition. Just like Serbia, Italy has limited funds and staff, which is why the success of this project is in the mutual interest – said Paola Belusci.
As it was announced at the meetings, the ICE plans to implement few more projects in 2011. The Italian side plans to organize a training for 20 to 25 people who work at spa centers, thermal springs and wellness centers, as well as to organize a study visit to Italy for them.
Fabio Crosi also said that a meeting of manufacturers of catering equipment was scheduled for late March.
Participants in two-day meetings in Belgrade
The recent meetings in Belgrade were attended by the following Italian companies: Arvedi Tubi Acciaio (steel tubing), Pedrotti Normalizzati (equipment for production of plastics), Omp (hydro-sanitary equipment), Vitasol (fodder, agriculture), Italian group (hair care), Rain (watering systems for parks and gardens), Intech automazione (industrial automation), Gerardo cesari (wine), Biemme (floor heating systems), Italpresse Industrie (casting metal under pressure), Cotonella (underwear).M.D.