Managing Director American Chamber of Commerce in Italy
by Simone Crolla, Managing Director American Chamber of Commerce in Italy
The future depends on FDIs
Foreign direct investment (FDI) plays an essential role in ensuring Italian economic growth and prosperity, creating highly-compensated jobs, spurring innovation, and driving exports. The multinational companies involved are rooted in the territory, sharing conditions and needs with local companies. Moreover, they have a greater propensity to seize the opportunities and inadequacies of the host countries.
Every country that wishes to attract foreign capital is called upon to develop its strengths. For the “beneficiary” country, FDIs represent a significant opportunity for technological progress and transfer of know-how.
Specifically, have assumed a geopolitical value at this time, allowing Italy, albeit with some difficulties, to remain attached to the innovation train, enhancing the competitive advantages of the most dynamic sectors and of the productive and territorial clusters in which they are settled. The flip side of the coin is that our country has a low capacity to attract FDIs. With regard to US investments, Italy is in 11th place in Europe and 23rd place worldwide.
To make our country a more internationally competitive hub, it is necessary to reformulate the investment attraction strategies that have been adopted to date, enhancing the opportunities that are already present and planning an organic and synergistic collaboration among all the actors, with the aim of improving the degree of international awareness of the opportunities offered by the “Italian System”.
Select Italy: several good reasons to choose our Country
After “Choose France”, a program sponsored by French President Macron with the ambition of becoming a credible alternative to the UK post-Brexit for multinational corporations, the “Italian system” cannot afford to lose further ground against its European competitors.
AmCham’s mission is to develop proposals directed at improving the Italian business climate. In this perspective, we suggest the creation of a special format, Select Italy, based on what has already been successfully experimented in the United States with Select USA, a federal program that was set up in 2013 with the aim of making the USA more attractive for industrial settlements.
Our idea is very simple: to import the American model, bringing together all the governmental, institutional and associative actors who can offer information and ‘ad hoc’ incentives to potential investors, with an integrated approach. The purpose of the System is to highlight the competitive aspects of our country and to present the opportunities offered by each territory/Region, in an extraordinary moment for dialogue and networking among multinational companies, local and national institutions, economists, professionals, banks and businesses.
As a first edition, we could imagine organizing “Select Italy” in a single day. There could be a plenary assembly, plus some thematic seminars and a contextual fair with stands featuring the individual actors/regions involved, favoring a matchmaking system that would allow participants to build their own agenda of business meetings in advance, in parallel with seminar meetings.
Strategies for promoting investments in Italy: networking and institutions
In order to attract the main world groups, another crucial aspect for the success of the project, in addition to specific incentives that are strategically promoted and agreed, would be the promotion of the event through the Italian diplomatic network (model ‘Cabina di Regia Expo 2015’), through a deep and mutual collaboration of the main actors (institutional, associative, regionals and productive subjects) who are able to promote the attractiveness of our country, in order to show foreign investors how much our country has to offer.
Local representatives could provide guidance, incentives, and a range of other services at the local level. Events such as Select Italy, international road shows, trade fair pavilions, and seminars are a convenient and cost-effective way for business investors to meet state, territorial, regional, and local economic development representatives from across the country under one roof.
All in all..
To sum up, Italy has many cards to play. It can be a strategic logistics hub that connects global markets. It is a key global player in manufacturing and export. It has deeply-rooted experience in different economic areas: machinery and automation, fashion, design, and food. Our country can rely on a skilled, adaptive and creative workforce, and offers a unique cultural heritage which is also an incredible business opportunity.
All these components are Italy’s hidden strengths. Together they contribute to creating a strong brand, and they are valuable resources that must be improved in order for Italy to become a magnet for foreign investments. The challenge is to make them clearly visible and business attractive.