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Italy and the “diplomacy of growth” – support for industry and SMEs is my personal challenge, says Terzi

“Our challenge, as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a ministry dedicated to growth and with a pronounced economic bent, is to provide broad-based support for the activities” of the large-scale, medium-sized and small enterprises of the aerospace and defence industries. Minister Giulio Terzi spoke at the closing of the Finmeccanica stand at the Farnborough air show near London, within the context of the Italo-British Foreign-Defence ministerial meeting. “This group exhibiting here at Farnborough”, the minister underscored, “is a highly significant element in the growth of our country, and a demonstration of how Italian exports follow an asymmetric curve as compared with domestic demand”.

Daily efforts at foreign promotion

“The foreign ministry, and I personally”, the minister went on to explain, “are making a daily effort to promote our industries, as in the case of those major groups involved in large-scale contracts, but we are also concerned with maintaining continuity in our fundamental relations with the United States and here in England. Our efforts are concentrated in both political spheres as well as toward laying the legislative and regulatory foundations to which our government has dedicated itself”.

EU-USA Workshop on SMEs

It was in the same “diplomacy of growth” context, that the foreign ministry hosted the EU-USA Workshop on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in the Framework of the TEC (Transatlantic Economic Council). Opening the sessions Under-Secretary Marta Dassù pointed out that a single transatlantic market was a key element in growth and in overcoming the global crisis. In any case, some “decisions very important to growth” had been taken at European level, and that there was a conviction that it would be possible “to reach the end of the tunnel by the end of December”.

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.