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Speech by the Hon. Minister in Turin at “The Farnesina Meets Companies” event – 7 March 2017

(The authentic text is only the one actually delivered)


President Chiamparino, Prefect Saccone, Mayor Appendino

Minister Costa

President Ilotte (Chamber of Commerce of Turin)

Dear friends and entrepreneurs of Cerea!

I am very happy indeed to be in Turin. As you know, my visit today is part of a tour that is taking me across Italy, from North to South, that we have called “The Farnesina Meets Companies”.

I want to hear and understand your needs. But I also want to help you to fully exploit the potential of the Foreign Ministry’s network around the world.

Economic diplomacy is a strategic priority of my mandate as Foreign Minister. The demand for services to help companies go international is on an uptrend. And foreign policy must be an instrument to support them and to promote economic growth.

The Foreign Ministry does much more for companies than what is widely believed. However, seeing that not all businessmen are fully aware of what diplomacy can do for them, I have decided to take the initiative to come to see them myself.

My tour began on 31 January at Confindustria, where we presented an independent study by Prometeia on the impact of economic diplomacy: more than 1% of the GDP and 234,000 jobs employing approximately 1% of jobholders

The study confirmed that the Foreign Ministry and its network of Embassies and Consulates in 126 Countries mainly assist small and medium-sized enterprises: 61% of these SMEs were awarded a contract or won a tender thanks to our support.   

I then went on a mission to Milan to support the campaign to attract banks, insurance companies, investment funds, companies, European Agencies and Organisations, which are leaving London in the wake of Brexit. 

It is an enormous pleasure to be here in Turin today. Because we very much confide in Turin and in Piedmont in an effort to grasp new growth opportunities together. 

The economy of Piedmont continues its recovery process: industrial production is back on the rise and for some areas, such as the automobile components, the agro-food and the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors, export is an essential driver of innovation and growth.

But I am on this tour to meet companies because I am more than convinced that together we can do much more. 

Some look at geopolitical scenarios and their characteristic unpredictability as a threat. Instead they should be looked at as opportunities

This is why I have decided to change the pace of economic diplomacy. 

Today decisions can reveal to be winning or losing depending on whether we are capable of anticipating and understanding trends ahead of time.

Our decisions and our responses must adjust to the pace of the time and pick up greater speed. 

The opportunities for companies are enormous: in 2016, overseas markets generated 417 billion euros in terms of exports for Italy and a trade surplus of 52 billion euros. 

Let me reaffirm that the doors of the Farnesina and of our Embassies and Consulates are wide open to companies, for all your main relations abroad: 

–       to attract investments;

–       to make investments;

–       to expand exports and penetrate new market outlets;

–       and to conquer new markets.

Market intelligence and institutional support are the cornerstones of our action. Because our Embassies and Consulates are privileged interlocutors of local institutions and of on-site political, economic and civil society representatives. And because our Embassies and Consulates have a ballpark view of Italian interests

 This ballpark view of Italian interests in the world has spurred us to develop an integrated promotion strategy for “Brand Italy”.

“Brand Italy” intended as the concept that merges the business sector with the promotion of Italian language and culture, science and innovation, in addition to the uniqueness of our regional territories.

It is a brand that reflects beauty, creativity and technological know-how, and that we have translated into the “Italian Way of Life” integrated programme promoted by every component of our network around the world.

I will never tire of repeating that we are also a superpower of lifestyle, culture and beauty. The Piedmont Region is a magnificent example of this. And we must capitalise on this primacy also to relaunch our economy.

Let us not forget that companies are the points of excellence of our creative industry and therefore a very important part of the image of Italy abroad

A few days ago, I launched the First Italian Design Day in the World. We put 100 great “Ambassadors” of Italian Design to work in 100 cities of the world.

From Bogotá to Wellington, from Ho Chi Min City to Vancouver, 100 designers, businessmen, journalists, teachers, critics and communicators talked about Italian design through shows, exhibitions and lectures.

Because design is also the fulcrum of our economic diplomacy and of our “Italian Way of Life” programme. And there is always a lot of Piedmont in design.  

But the most important message that I would like to convey to you today is that Embassies and Consulates are your “home” abroad. Don’t forget it when you are overseas. Thank you very much. 

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