UAE a principal destination, perfect economic model

DUBAI — The UAE offers a perfect model for economic diversification and it has relatively liberal and social economic policies, said Mauro Marzocchi, Secretary-General of the Italian Industry and Commerce Office in the UAE.

By Muzaffar Rizvi (

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Published: Sun 26 Sep 2010, 12:04 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 5:17 PM

He said intellectual property rights and counterfeiting are among the main concerns of the Italian companies operating in the UAE.

“The government needs to lay down more stringent rules to address these issues,” Marzocchi said.

Excerpts from the interview:

Could you share some major projects already set up by Italian entrepreneurs in the UAE?

One that comes to my mind is the Floor System Company, whose managing director is on the board of directors of our chamber. The company is a Sharjah-based manufacturer of raised-floor products and with plans for Dh70 million expansions at the free zone factory, aims to be a world leader in the industry. This ambitious project will put the UAE as an icon on the world map in the raised-floor industry. What is important to consider here is that the raw material for the production is imported from Italy.

Thanks to Italy’s support for Abu Dhabi’s candidacy, the UAE is the 2010 headquarters of IRENA, a new international renewable energy agency, with a futuristic headquarters at the gateway to Abu Dhabi entirely run on power from alternative energy sources.

What other Italian projects are in the pipeline for the UAE?

As of late, the Italian Export Credit Agency has guaranteed a $500 million loan to General Holding Corporation, owned by the Abu Dhabi government. This loan will be used for the $3.5 billion project to expand the existing steel-making plant owned by the Emirates Steel Industries.

As part of the project, Italy’s Danieli Group will supply a one million tones per year heavy section and beam rolling mill. The new rolling mill will complete phase two of the expansion project launched in 2008. Danieli also supplied the first mill, which produces 1.4 million tonnes per year of bar and wire rod.

Why do you consider the UAE a preferred investment destination in the GCC?

First and foremost the UAE is strategically placed between Asia and Europe and is one of the most rapid developing regions in the world with approximately two billion consumers. As UAE is committed to strengthening its bilateral trade relations with strategic markets globally, it offers a perfect model for economic diversification. Furthermore, the UAE has relatively liberal and social economic policies.

What are the major challenges or hurdles in promoting bilateral trade and investment?

The UAE represents one of the principal markets for Italian exports to the Middle East. With 12 years of experience in the UAE, one of the main concerns of the Italian companies is the intellectual property right. A company, who wants to set up a branch here or to promote its products, has to protect them registering its brand and/or patent. Without doing so, its brand/patent will be exposed at risk of counterfeit and there will be no legal protection to be acquired from local authorities. However, when the company would like to its trademark/patent faces several bureaucratic in terms of legal representatives, timing and the expenses incurred.

Another area of concern is counterfeiting. Italy is known for its “Made in Italy” products, which are often copied and forged in large scales and sold here in the UAE. The government needs to lay down more stringent rules.

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