Italian companies are planning to increase their presence in Russia by opening new manufacturing facilities and expanding available capacities. These prospects were explored during the Russia–Italy meeting on the sidelines of the Russian Investment Forum in Sochi. Further expansion in the economic cooperation between Russia and Italy will be addressed at the Yalta International Economic Forum (YIEF) scheduled for this April. Italy will send the most numerous foreign delegation to the upcoming YIEF.
“The past few years have been hard for business but we believe deeply in the development of our group in Russia and wish to increase investments in industrial activities”, Fabrizio Cepollina, General Director of СТР Industrial (Fiat Group) in Russia and Belarus, said at the meeting in Sochi.
President of Euro Group S. p. A. Sergio Iori, for his part, spoke about his company’s plans to build a plant in Lipetsk. Antonio Fallico, Chairman of the Board of Banca Intesa and President of the Association Conoscere Eurasia, said that the bank he represents is willing to continue supporting Italian businessmen in Russia and Russian business in Italy.
“Italians can feel at home in Russia; Russia is Italy’s strategic partner. We can gradually overcome the crisis”, Mrю Fallico believes.
It is expected that the Italian delegation to YIEF 2017 will be up to 50-strong. Given the activity of Italian businessmen and politicians – during and between previous forums – the Programme Committee of the Yalta International Economic Forum awarded the Italian delegation the status of honoured guests. The YIEF organisers note that, at the middle political level, Italians maintain strong support for any processes targeting further convergence with Russia: heads of Italian municipalities and members of regional parliaments have visited Crimea in the last 12 months. Following last year’s Forum, some of Italy’s regional parliaments adopted resolutions calling for Crimea to be recognised and the sanctions lifted from Russia.
One of the key discussions at YIEF 2017 will be the Russia–Italy Business Dialogue. According to Director of the Business and Culture Centre of the Republic of Crimea Yaroslav Ivanchenko, the session will discuss not only business but also political and cultural issues. Invitations to act as moderators have been sent to Head of the Association of Friends of Russia in Italy Gianfranco Vaino, as well as Secretary General of the Italy–Eurasia Chamber of Commerce and Industry Davide Sarnataro.
“The Forum will address the experience of work by Italy’s political forces and regional communities against the sanctions imposed on Crimea and will study the experience of regional parliaments in Lombardy, Tuscany, Veneto and Sicily. It is also planned to sign several agreements”, Mr. Ivanchenko said. “It is important to discuss the prospects for regional development between the cities of Crimea and Italy and explore the unique experience of the province of Bolzano (South Tyrol) – one of Italy’s leading provinces in terms of economic potential, which is also a German autonomy.”
In autumn 2016, a big delegation of politicians, public figures and entrepreneurs from Italy held a series of business meetings with the authorities of Crimea and representatives of businesses. The trip by the Italian politicians and entrepreneurs to Crimea was the biggest international visit in the new history of the region. Representatives of the business community had two days to establish business contacts, sign commercial declarations of intent and learn about Crimea’s investment climate in detail. Members of the national parliament and regional councils of Italy acknowledged that the situation in Crimea was stable, signed an agreement on cooperation, made a declaration in favour of promoting cooperation with Russia and demanded that EU executives lift the sanctions.
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