Custom duties are a very tricky issue to which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be attaching the utmost importance. I am very well aware of the concerns of the sector and the impact that these measures could have on our Country and on our businesses. As reiterated at the meeting with the Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, we will defend Italian companies with all our might. This will be possible also thanks to a the dialogue that we have already started with the USA.
The bilateral meetings in Rome were very important and in the coming weeks I will be having other international meetings and appointments in this regard. My goal is to trace a clear path that everyone can follow. We will shape the path with the utmost transparency, so that Italian companies are updated as progress is made. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, both in Rome and through our Embassies, is at the service of our companies that create value for Italy by exporting the best of Italian products all over the world.
One of the very first things I did upon becoming Foreign Affairs Minister, was to transfer the foreign trade function to the Farnesina, in order to create an even more effective synergy between embassies, consulates and foreign trade institutes. And among my tasks there is also that of protecting our Country and Italian products. I will dedicate all of my energies to this, also because I firmly believe that Italian foreign policy is shaped not only by the Ministry, but also by our entrepreneurs who export our premium products, which are in great demand all over the world.
In this regard I would like to launch an appeal: let us work together. We have no reason to think that the United States are bent on damaging Italian products. We have products of excellence in every sector, from agri-food, to clothing, to mechanics and technological innovation, and it would be counterproductive even for the US to damage Italy, also because the import of Italian products fuels a significant part of their economy.
We excel in all products and we want to continue to export them all over the world, because we know how much they are worth and, above all, because they are in strong demand everywhere in the world.
Also for this reason our diplomatic activity to strengthen the dialogue with the USA will become even more intense. And I am sure that every single diplomat whatever his/her level will do his/her best to ensure the best for our Country, as has always been the case. As minister, and representative of the government, I rely heavily on our diplomatic corps.
The publication yesterday of the list of custom duties by the United States following the WTO decision came as an absolute surprise, of course, but less so than for other countries – it would seem. And we believe that our message, stating that Italy should not be disproportionately damaged, was received. Several sectors of our exports have been spared or will be less affected than other European partners. But our attention remains high.
It is possible that the American decision may cause similar European measures towards the United States, but we believe that neither the EU nor the United States should start a war on custom duties that would weaken both sides. We believe that dialogue is always the best solution. As an exporting Country we will make our contribution to encouraging this solution and avoid restrictions on international trade that would affect our businesses.
That is why we are already working on a solution that defends Italian products from custom duties. What is at stake is the success of our companies, the benefits for all the countries of the world that want to buy from them and the economy of our Country.