Strengthening bonds

In an exclusive interview, Lorenzo Fanara, Ambassador of Italy to the UAE shares insights on the dynamic growth of political and trade relations between Italy and the UAE and the developments shaping this crucial partnership

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Published: Thu 21 Dec 2023, 11:32 AM

Last updated: Tue 9 Jan 2024, 1:39 PM

Edited excerpts:

How have you seen the development of political and trade relations between Italy and the UAE since you assumed office?

I can truly affirm that my first year as the Italian Ambassador to Abu Dhabi has been characterised by excellent developments in both political and commercial relations between Italy and the UAE.

On the political front, relations notably strengthened with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni making two visits to the UAE, and President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan visiting Rome last July. In terms of commercial relations, there has been considerable success, marked by Italian exports surpassing 6 billion euros in 2022 and experiencing a 10 per cent increase in the first half of 2023 compared to the preceding year.

These positive achievements are a testament to the collaborative efforts of Italian and UAE businesses, as well as the steadfast commitment of our institutions to foster bilateral trade.

Italian companies are always attracted to this country, what do you think are the main motivating conditions?

Italian businesses continue to be strongly attracted to the UAE, as this country offers an ideal environment for investment and economic cooperation. Firstly, serving as a strategic hub for global trade, especially in Asia and Africa, the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPAs) signed by the UAE, including those with India and Indonesia, provide Italian enterprises with favourable access to key markets.

Secondly, there is a notable appreciation for ‘Made in Italy’ goods, with an increasing demand from UAE customers for both traditional sectors such as luxury, jewellery, fashion, and furniture, as well as more technological ones like machinery. Lastly, Italian businesses demonstrate high competitiveness in the fields of energy and sustainability, aligning with the UAE's goals of addressing climate change through decarbonisation and achieving net-zero emissions.

What perspective do you see for the consolidation of relations between Italy and the UAE? What advice would you give to Italian companies?

I see very positive prospects for the consolidation of relations between Italy and the UAE, with a particular emphasis on the sustainability sector. Italian businesses, with their expertise and innovation in sustainability, play a crucial role in contributing to the decarbonisation of the Emirati industry.

Consequently, I strongly recommend that Italian businesses align with the demands of the local market, concentrating on forging strategic partnerships and engaging in collaborative projects that champion sustainability and energy efficiency. Active involvement in sectors such as renewable energy and emission reduction technologies will not only positively impact the environment, but will also solidify commercial ties between the two countries.

Can you give your opinion on Italy's contribution to COP28?

Italy has supported the inclusive and pragmatic approach of the UAE presidency of COP28. This is evidenced by the high-level participation of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and the announcement of a significant pledge of 100 million euros to the Loss and Damages fund. Additionally, Italy has committed 300 million euros to the Green Climate Fund. These pledges underscore Italy's robust commitment to promoting tangible and collaborative actions to address the global challenge of climate change and to support countries facing irreversible damages due to it. Moreover, the Italian pavilion at COP also offered a rich programme of events to showcase best practices and innovative solutions, which are essential for raising awareness of the international community.

— kushmita@khaleejtimes.com


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