I am very pleased to host the General Assembly of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Japan and I welcome all of you in the Embassy.
Let me first warmly thank Massimo Allegri and Davide Fantoni, all the Members of the board and the staff for the organization of this meeting.
I would also like to express my sincere appreciation for the commitment and engagement of the Chamber in the organization of the numerous activities realized last year and for the rich calendar of events planned for the coming months, notwithstanding the uncertainty of the situation due to the pandemic.
Nowadays, more than in the past, the role of the Italian Chamber of Commerce is crucial in order to create and maintain an effective dynamism within the Italian business community and in order to deepen the cooperation and partnership with the Japanese friends.
I seize this opportunity to underline the relevance of working “together” or, as we say “fare squadra”.
As already mentioned on the occasion of the Gala of the Chamber last December, I wish to confirm my full support to the Chamber’s activities and initiatives since I strongly believe that only a “team work” and a “shared vision and strategy” will lead us to reach our common goals of a continued and sustainable growth of our bilateral relations.
Indeed, I am convinced that only a stronger cooperation between the institutions and the private sector will make it possible to ensure that in the next ten or twenty years our Countries will be closer, our peoples will be more connected, and our economic systems more interdependent and even more capable to innovate and produce together.
Since my arrival in Japan, in October, I have been visiting the headquarters of many Italian companies based in Japan and meeting with many Japanese companies interested in Italy, receiving and exchanging useful insights and views on their perspectives, strategies and goals.
It is my commitment that in the Year of the Tiger that is about to start, and in the coming years, my staff and I will spare no efforts to further enhance the relationship between Italy and Japan, with a view to build up new partnerships and collaborations in every field, cultural, academic, scientific, economic and industrial. We will be at the service of any company, and we will be pleased to work closely with the ICCJ.
The latest data about our trade confirm that Japan represents a strategic market for Italy and that Italy, second UE supplier for Japan, is for this country an important and strong partner. In 2021 our exports registered an annual increase of 14% (+0.7% compared to 2019) while the Japanese exports raised 36% (+9,5% on 2019).
We are very proud of these results, but we are even prouder of the long time upward trend of our economic relationship, particularly in the last twenty years. This clear positive trend should let us foresee that we can grow more in the next decade if we take today the right steps and continue to promote new collaborations and create new opportunities.
In this perspective, the Italian Government has recently launched two new initiatives, especially focused on Japan.
The first one is the Nation brand campaign “beIT” aimed at offering a complete and fresh presentation of Italy, centered on its heritage, style, diversity, innovation, creativity and expertise to make exceptional things.
The second one is a new “business matching” digital platform, realized by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, the Italian national Institution for economic promotion, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, aimed at promoting connections and partnerships between Italian and Japanese companies with the help of artificial intelligence algorithms.
The platform offers to the companies that sign up and indicate their business goals and interests, the opportunity to find a matching company in the other Country, to organize B2B meetings, to participate in digital events, and to stay updated with the latest news and trends from the Italian and Japanese markets.
I believe that this innovative and digital tool can facilitate connections and business between Italian and Japanese companies and I invite all companies to take advantage of this new public instrument. For those interested – I am sure many of you – a webinar launching event will be held on February 25 and you will receive an invitation from the Chamber.
Let me conclude by thanking all of you for attending today’s event, by expressing my gratitude to the members of the Board who have completed their term, and by wishing good luck to the new members who will be appointed today.
Gambatte kudasai to all of you. Arigato Gozaimashita