Italy has been an important trade partner for the
subcontinent of India. Bilateral trade between the two countries was about Euros 9.5 billion in 2018. Some of the key sectors India exports to Italy include textile, apparel, leather and accessories while some of the key imports to India from Italy are in the machinery and equipment sector.
In an exclusive interview to Vizag Industrial Scan, the trade commissioner of the Italian Trade agency in Mumbai, Mr FabrizioGiustarinispoke on the various opportunities that lie ahead between the two nations and also on the importance of innovation and startups in both the countries.
Having joined as the Trade commissioner in June 2018 Mr Giustarini hopes to increase the presence of Italian companies and products in India and also facilitate bilateral trade between the two nations.
The Italian Trade commissioner also talked upon the trade opportunities that the sun rise state of Andhra Pradesh and Italy could work upon.
Edited Excepts of the interview below.
How important is the Indian market to Italy in terms of the economic landscape?
The Indian market has always been an important market to Italy in terms of the economic landscape. Over the past years this relationship has evolved for the better and has created more progressive ties between the nations. In fact, it has been growing so well, the Ministry of Economic Development, Italy, is in the process of launching a special program for India, wherein India will be the country focus for various promotional activities such as trade delegations, trade fairs, workshops and so on. The process has already begun, and in the 5 months of 2019, for example, the Italian Trade Agency office in Mumbai has organized sponsored delegations for over 80 delegates to various sector specific trade fairs and expos across Italy.
Could you tell us how much is India and Italy’s bilateral trade and how has it grown over the past few years?
In 2018 the total India – Italy trade exchange was approximately € 9.5 billion. 2018 and 2017 were extremely good years in terms of trade performance for Italy, as the Italian export into India growth percentage jumped to a +11% in the year 2018. This percentage change has been the highest since 2013.
What are some of the core sectors of India’s exports to Italy and vice versa?
A good 40% of Italy’s exports to India are by the ‘machinery and equipment’ sector. Substance and chemicals, base metals and metal products, transportation and rubber & plastics make up the next 30% of the exports. The remaining 30% consists of various miscellaneous sectors. The most important sector of Indian imports into Italy, on the other hand, is the textile, apparels, leather & accessories sector making up a good 20% of the total imports. Around 25% exports are base metal and metal products and around 13% share goes to substances and chemicals. Coke and refined petroleum products, and clothing including leather and fur make up the next 20%. The remaining exports are other miscellaneous items.
India is betting huge on innovation and startups. Have Italian companies/organizations made any in roads here?
India and Italy both, in fact, are betting on Innovation and startups. Both India and Italy have programs to foster, grow and support the startup culture and promote innovation. The Italian counterpart of the Indian program ‘Startup India’ is the ‘Italy’s Startup Act’. The Ministry of Economic Development has also started a Global Startup Program, this year, wherein selected startups from Italy ‘intern’ with their products in foreign markets. India is being evaluated as a strong country partner for the next phase. Complementing the government programs, an Innovation Desk has been set up at the Italian Trade Agency office in Mumbai to support delegations, collaborations, technology transfer and investments between the two startup ecosystems.
Also if you could share business opportunities that Indian cos/MSMEs could participate in Italy?
Multiple investment opportunities are available to Indian companies in Italy. To facilitate this, there are two different types of visas, namely, Italia startup visa and Italy investor visa, available if Indian entrepreneurs/ investors wish to explore the Italian market. Since India is technologically sound, technology exchange/ transfer or licensing of technology, is also a viable opportunities for Indian companies. Of course, import and export of goods in the already mentioned sectors is a permanent opportunity for Indian companies in Italy. The Italian Trade Agency offices assist Indian companies provides tailor made services to facilitate Indian participation in Italy.
Is Italy looking at tapping India’s foreign education potential?
India’s foreign education potential is immense. Young Indian talent has always valued international exposure and education programs. Italy has hence invited Indian students to study in various courses in multiple universities. Italy remains a top choice for students for fashion and design studies, with a plethora of short and long courses available to suit every student’s needs. One of Europe’s top school for business education, present in Italy, has also now launched multiple courses in its Asia Center located in Mumbai. Other than this, multiple language programs are also run in partnership with government and private universities in India.
What are some of the opportunities you believe the sun rise state of Andhra Pradesh could possibly collaborate with Italy in?
Collaboration with Italy, especially for the state of Andhra Pradesh could span across sectors. Andhra Pradesh being largely an agriculturally and industrially strong state holds immense collaboration potential across sectors, particularly, in the smart cities realm (especially green buildings), construction sector – including technological knowhow integration – and of course the food processing sector, which has been the focus of Indian and Italian collaborations for the past few years and will continue to be so.