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Italy-Libya – Economic Forum at the Farnesina with Terzi and el-Magariaf

Supporting the transition in Libya and building on our close bilateral relations. This is the approach inspiring today’s Italy-Libya Economic Forum co-chaired by Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi and Libya’s Head of State and President of the General National Assembly, Mohammed el-Magariaf. During his visit to Rome, el-Magariaf will also be meeting the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Gianfranco Fini, and Prime Minister Mario Monti.

Attending the Forum will be representatives of bodies promoting the internationalisation of the economy, business associations, banking institutions, and tens of large and small Italian businesses. Today’s event is a further initiative to multiply business contacts between the two countries. Reciprocal knowledge and contacts are of vital importance in building and strengthening Italy’s economic presence in Libya.

Creation of the Business Forum

The first Business Forum with the new Libya took place on 28 November 2012 in Milan. Dedicated to industrial and commercial collaboration opportunities in Libya, the meeting was a natural follow-up to Minister Terzi’s mission to Tripoli on 6 November, accompanied by a delegation of Italian entrepreneurs. This was the first such mission by a foreign minister since the new Libyan government was formed.

Italian-Libyan economic relations

With trade amounting to 4.58 billion euros in 2011, Italy is Libya’s first commercial partner. Our main export sectors are: oil derivatives, machine tools, electrical equipment, processed and preserved foods and specialist machinery. Our main imports from Libya are oil-related. Italian investment is concentrated in key infrastructure and transport sectors, while our business community shows a keen interest in helping revitalise and diversify the economy and in the reconstruction effort.

Italian initiatives to support the transition.

With an initial contribution of over 10 million euros, Italian Development Cooperation has set up a diversified programme of initiatives. Moving on from the emergency, these are intended to support Libya’s institutions and people. Other Italian support focuses on security and border control. It takes the form of: training courses in Italy and Libya; land patrol vehicles; capacity-building for the customs and flight control authorities; assistance with migrant reception programmes; psychological support for young people and children affected by war trauma; and treatment in Italian hospital structures for about 1500 Libyans injured in the fighting.

Bilateral relations

Bilateral relations and Italian assistance with the democratic stabilisation process in Libya should be set in the framework of the Tripoli Declaration, signed by Prime Minister Monti and the then Prime Minister El-Keib on 21 January 2012. Italy is the only country to have established such wide-ranging political and operational agreements with the new Libya.

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