The Italian productive system’s keen interest in the vast Southeast Asian market, and the intention of the ten ASEAN member countries to generate fruitful collaborations with all country system actors by tapping into Italian excellence, was the central message that emerged from the ASEAN Awareness Forum held yesterday and today at the foreign ministry in Rome.
The event was organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with Confindustria for the purpose of strengthening Italy’s economic relations with an important and rapidly developing area of the world.
ASEAN, led by two its giants China and India, is a strategic productive platform for access to the entire Asian continent, whose share of world GDP is currently more than 30%. The ASEAN economies, with an total population of approximately 600 million and a GDP of nearly $3 trillion, are growing at a rate of over 5% annually.
The representatives of over 100 participating firms underscored that the demand for increasingly sophisticated goods from the rapidly expanding sectors of a market in the process of integration, and from a growing middle class, is a great opportunity for Italy that deserves to be exploited. The Forum launched a process aimed at the intensification of economic relations between Italy and ASEAN, not least through immediate operational follow ups such as the Vietnam Road Show planned to begin Monday in Milan, Padua, Pesaro and Bologna.
The event was opened yesterday by Minister for Foreign Affairs Giulio Terzi and Secretary General of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), and closed today by Under-Secretary Marta Dassù. Participants included Vice-President of the European Commission Antonio Tajani, ministerial representatives from the ten ASEAN members and of international economic institutions such as the World Bank, the OECD, UNIDO, the Asian Development Bank, the President of the Marche Region, and of Italian institutions engaged in internationalisation (SIMEST)
In the opening institutional session the Asian delegation heads expressed their compliments for the initiative, the first ever organised with all the ASEAN countries. Later thematic sessions – infrastructure and development, mechanical industry, science and high technology, consumer goods and distribution – allowed for the identification of areas of mutual interest in the development of productive exchanges and investments in both directions aimed at contributing to the growth of the Italian economy.