Last week I received a copy of the recently published "Promotional Activity Guidelines 2007". The brief, which is released yearly by the Italian Ministry for International Trade, sets broad, strategic priorities for international trade promotion programs, funding and new initiatives supported by the Italian government.
I could not find a copy of the document in English, so I will summarize here its key elements. The original publications are available from the Ministry's website.
The government overall 2007 policy objectives center around 4 key priorities:
- Maintenance of the "Made in Italy " brand
- Reduction of Italy 's gap in those markets where the country's share is lower than the world average
- Incentives for the internationalization of firms operating in high value-add sectors
- Continued support to international IP protection programs and treaties
More interestingly, the Ministry is focusing (and therefore concentrating its activities) in specific geographies that are of particular interest to Italian business, whether because of the sheer size of their export markets, the relative importance in terms of share of trade, or their growth rate. Not surprisingly, BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) lead the pack. While China (and its unstoppable growth) among the ranks of Italy's trading partners has been the focus of special program in 2006, India will take the lion's share in 2007.
"Program India" will focus on six opportunity areas that leverage key Italian industrial strengths: Infrastructure and Transportation, Defense, Automotive, Food Processing, Movie industry, Luxury Goods "Made in Italy".
The European Union, now enlarged to 25 countries and potentially to include a fast-growing Turkish economy, accounts for 59% of Italy's exports, and is therefore a key area of focus. Within the EU and neighboring areas, special programs and funding will be address at Nordic countries, Turkey, the Balkans and the South Mediterranean rim.
Finally, USA and Japan continue to be countries in which the government plans to invest to push international expansion of Italian firms in high tech sectors. And indeed there seems to be renewed interest in high tech and innovation in Rome. The government has earmarked 20% of its promotional budget for "events, projects, initiatives that further international expansion of innovation-driven firms in sectors such as electronic equipment, agrochemicals, IT, telecom, nanotech, biotech.
Minister Bonino, just give us a call!