The recovery of Italian exports – which began at the end of last year with record exports equal to 516 billion euros – risks being held back by bottlenecks on the supply side that prevent Italian products from expressing their full potential. The demand for Italian products exists and continues to be sustained – as shown by the 2022 export figures (a 22.9 per cent increase in the first quarter) – but problematic issues in logistics and supplies of energy and raw materials critical to our manufacturing sector slow down the momentum of our companies.
Being aware of these difficulties, we have taken two important support measures under Fund 394/81, to which 1.8 billion euros have been allocated. The first measure, which became operational a few days ago, provides for financing at particularly favourable rates (with non-repayable contributions up to a maximum of 40 per cent), useful in the search for alternative destinations for our exports, in view of making up for the market shares lost in the countries affected by hostilities. The second measure, which will be operational as from September, envisages the same mechanism for the companies that face severe price increases in the supply of critical raw materials.
These measures provide a concrete response in the current emergency, but there is still the need to work together, as a Country System, to make our companies structurally more competitive in international markets. Once we have overcome the current problematic phase, we will be able to seize new opportunities if we continue to enhance internationalisation skills, support the now unavoidable processes dictated by the so-called twin transitions (digitalisation and environmental sustainability), spread knowledge, and facilitate access to the many public instruments available to our companies.
In June 2020, in a very similar situation, we launched the Pact for Export to deal with the pandemic emergency and, at the same time, to lay the foundations for recovery. Following a consultation involving 147 trade associations, we launched a series of initiatives benefiting businesses for a total of 7.2 billion euros. It is with the same inclusive approach, which is a sign of the strong public-private partnership that characterises the Foreign Ministry’s approach, that we intend to reshape the Pact for Export and put the territories at the centre.
The first step in this strategy is the event taking place today in Nola. A new opportunity for dialogue and discussion with institutions, associations, and enterprises in the Campania region, useful for defining “tailor-made” initiatives that foster the internationalisation of local companies and production.
This action will be part of a specific agreement that will be reached, on that occasion, between the Foreign Ministry, the Campania Region, ICE Agency, and the Consortia of the Development Areas in the five Campania provinces. In this way, we intend to structure enhanced cooperation in several areas: training for internationalisation; information for access to subsidized finance tools; definition of dedicated promotional initiatives within the framework of ICE Agency’s extensive programming, and incoming missions of foreign investors.
The event organised in Nola will be the first implementation stage of the new Pact for Export. Other stages will follow, with the aim of creating a system with the territory. We are convinced that this dialogue is essential for defining shared actions and tools to support our exports, which shall be increasingly responsive to the specificities of the many chains of excellence of our Made in Italy products.