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Fourth Italy – Thailand Business Forum

The fourth Italy – Thailand Business Forum in Phuket 

The Italian and Thai business communities met in Phuket on 11 and 12 March for the fourth meeting of the Business Forum, at a time of particularly intense business relations between the two countries.

On 9 February, Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano was in Bangkok and in turn, his counterpart Don Pramudwinai made a visit to Rome less than a month later.  Italian Ambassador, Francesco Saverio Nisio, said that this year also marks the 150th anniversary of relations between the two countries. He remarked on how useful the Business Forum was, giving the most influential business groups the opportunity to meet once a year with a view towards increasing the volume of trade and investments. Each country hosts the event every second year.

Both co-chairs, Carlo Pesenti of Italmobiliare and Busaba Chirativat of the Central Group and La Rinascente, and all participants at the meeting considered the new political climate between Bangkok and Rome to be highly positive. The ambassador pointed out that the companies sponsored tens of events promoted by the Embassy during the year to mark the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations. 

In addition to networking, various matters were discussed during the Forum including the performance of the Thai economy and opportunities and incentives offered by the big  “Eastern Economic Corridor” project.  The prospect of renewed negotiations on an EU-Thailand free trade agreement was also examined.  Agriculture, food, design, textiles, industry and tourism were the sectors that aroused the most interest, while robotics, aviation, infrastructure, transport, cars, and biofuel were also discussed within the framework of the Thailand 4.0 project.

Thirty-one groups took part with Italy represented by Italmobiliare, Cavagna, CMC Ravenna, CNH Industrial-IVECO, Danieli, Ducati, Faber Industrie, Ferrero, Generali, Leonardo Company, Pirelli, Unicredit and Vittoria, along with two prominent new members:  Inalca Food and Beverage (Cremonini Group) and SAIPEM.

The Thai groups included Central Group, GPSC (PTT Group), Bangkok Bank, Thai Airways, Thai Summit, Singha Corporation, Mitr Phol Group, Dusit Thani, SCG, Thai Union, Thai Hua Rubber, Inoue Rubber, Von Bundit, Merchant Partners, Thaivivat and Deesawat Industries. Kalin Sarasin, Chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade, was also in attendance along with SACE Chairman Beniamino Quintieri.