Por GIORGIO STARACE
The UAE is a strategic partner of Italy in the MENA region, both politically and economically. Italy’s traditional role as a bridge between Europe and the Arab world is highly appreciated by our Emirati friends and there is an emotional and intellectual connection with this country.
Recent high-level political visits have set the tone for cooperation on various fronts, and economic and trade partnerships have been explored to attract increased investments in both countries.
Bilateral ties are reflected in the growth in trade (more than €6 billion last year). The trade figures placed Italy as the second largest European trade partner of the UAE. There are more than 300 Italian companies in the UAE and this number is still growing. There is nothing comparable with the UAE in the entire Middle East. A lot of Italian firms are coming here to take advantage of the strong bonds between the two countries. The Italian community in the UAE has more than doubled to 10,000 people within the last four years.
Both countries share complementarities. We never compromise on quality. That is Italy’s hallmark. UAE as a market is buying more and more quality. The UAE locals travel the world over and are known to be very keen consumers.
Expo Milano 2015 and Expo Dubai 2020 have seen the two countries join forces, marking a ground-breaking new collaborative project.
The first of its kind between two universal expositions, the agreement between the two cities will see the hosts of the upcoming editions of the global event sharing knowledge, capabilities and experience.
In travel, Italy has emerged as one of the top ten destinations for UAE. The partnership between the two carriers Alitalia and Etihad will certainly contribute to the growth of the tourism relations.
Last but not least, in a country like the UAE which is deeply sensitive to culture, there is a very fertile ground for the refined Italian arts to be strongly appreciated.
Being almost at the end of my tenure as the Ambassador of Italy to the UAE I can tell that I made the right choice by coming here and I wish all the best to this magnificent country.
Giorgio Starace es embajador de Italia en Emiratos Árabes Unidos.