The Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ivan Scalfarotto, has completed a mission to the Usa. While in Washington, the Undersecretary had a number of meetings with representatives of the Administration and of Congress. Several days after the announcement, on 24 January, by the US Administration, of new customs tariffs on aluminium and steel products, and in view of the tariff revision imposed by the Administration last October, in the wake of the WTO’s Airbus ruling, Undersecretary Scalfarotto expressed the hope that Italy might not be harshly and unduly hit by the new round of tariffs, which could harm businesses and consumers not just in Italy and across Europe, but in the United States as well, affecting sensitive sectors such as agrifood and wine.
The Undersecretary also emphasised how a new wave of tariffs against Italy, which chose not to join the Airbus consortium, could also damage the good standing of the United States among Italian public opinion. A risk to be avoided, in light of the excellent bilateral relations between Italy and the United States. Mr. Scalfarotto also reassured his US counterparts about Italy’s commitment, within the EU, to launching constructive and definitive negotiations on the issue of aid to the aerospace sector, awaiting the WTOs ruling on the Boeing case in the forthcoming months, also underlining how the ultimate objective of trade relations between the EU and the USA should be to avoid any kind of escalation, but rather to focus on “mutually beneficial” solutions for supporting the businesses and consumers of both economic areas. Last but not least, Mr. Scalfarotto illustrated the scope and operation of the Italian digital services tax, which entered into effect on 1 January 2020, although it will start producing revenue next year, confirming our County’s commitment to, and expectations for, the achievement of a global deal within the OECD.
The Undersecretary’s visit was part of the ongoing effort by all the components of Italy’s overall production system, and the Foreign Ministry first and foremost, through our Embassy in Washington and the Institute for Foreign Trade – ICE, in defence of Italian industry and producers, and of the entire US chain of importers and distributors of our products. Which effort is supported by the establishment of the American-Italian Food Coalition, made up of over 400 Italian businesses, aimed at forging a common front in defence of Italian products in the USA, building up contacts with Italian trade associations, consortiums, producers, US pressure groups, and individual businesses, with a view to establishing an effective network for promotional activities.