The MFA maintains its commitment to the “diplomacy of growth” through various initiatives aimed at promoting the country system, as foreign ministry spokesperson Giuseppe Manzo explained in his customary press briefing.
The EU-US Workshop on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in the Framework of the TEC (Transatlantic Economic Council) will be held on Thursday 12 July at the foreign ministry in Rome, chaired by Under-Secretary Marta Dassù. Participants will include Vice President of the European Commission the Hon. Antonio Tajani, US Ambassador to Italy David Thorne, President of the Confederation of Italian Industries (Confindustria) Giorgio Squinzi. The workshop’s main objectives are to confront regulatory problems and factors associated with the access of SMEs to Euro-American markets, foster direct contacts in order to develop business opportunities and supply strategic information for the support, development and competitiveness of SMEs.
Also on 12 July, Foreign and Defence Ministers Giulio Terzi and Giampaolo Di Paola will be in London for a 2+2 ministerial meeting to promote, among other things, the Italian aeronautic industry.
A steering committee for an international Italy
On Wednesday 18 July, the MFA will host the first meeting of the “steering committee for an international Italy”, chaired by Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Economic Development Giulio Terzi and Corrado Passera. The objective is to establish “guidelines for the foreign promotion of the country system”, Manzo explained, specifying that the Ministry for Agricultural Policies, the Conference of the Regions, Confindustria, ABI and Confcamere would also be represented.
12% visa increase
Promotion of the country system is also accomplished by making the most of Italy’s cultural heritage, as is reflected in the 12% increase in visas issued in the first semester of 2012 as compared with the same period last year. The total number of visas was 917,000, most of which were requested by China (22%), Russia (10%) and Turkey (12% for business visas). The Ministry of Foreign Affairs plays an active part in this effort, Manzo pointed out, recalling that last week Foreign and Tourism Ministers Giulio Terzi and Piero Gnudi had discussed how the diplomatic network could be used to help encourage tourist flows toward Italy.