Economic Outlook: Italian business in the UAE

Intesa Sanpaolo is the only Italian bank with a direct operational presence in the Gulf region

 ROME - The Italian Embassy in UAE and the Italian Consulate General in Dubai, in collaboration with Intesa Sanpaolo (Dubai Hub and Abu Dhabi Representative Office) and SRM (a Studies Center connected to the Intesa Sanpaolo Group), have promoted and organized a seminar on the economy of the United Arab Emirates in the presence of the Italian Ambassador in the UAE, Liborio Stellino and the UAE Director of Commercial Policies of the Ministry of Economy, Mrs. Hind AlYouha, officials said Monday.

  The seminar drew on the SRM research “Outlook - The Italian business in the United Arab Emirates”, which - by examining trade flows and the movement of goods by sea - provides a picture of the international projection of the UAE, develops the infrastructural and logistic aspect with the situation of ports and container terminals, showing the high degree of connection between the UAE and the rest of the world and analyses the infrastructure that will impact, in a disruptive manner, the centrality of the Mediterranean and which will also affect the Gulf: the doubling of the Suez Canal.

  In his introductory speech, Liborio Stellino, the Italian Ambassador in the UAE, noted the high quality and usefulness of the research conducted by SRM. “The study carried out by SRM offers a very interesting stimulus for reflection for all those who are engaged in the promotion of Italy in the UAE’s economic system. It clearly shows the strategic position that the UAE market already holds for Italian export and investments. The study also highlights the significant opportunities that it will continue to offer in the years ahead, given the growing interest of this government in accelerating the process of economic diversification, with particular attention to SMEs and technological innovation." 

  “The United Arab Emirates rank 5th in the world in terms of international openness: the foreign trade/GDP ratio is equal to 163%. They are a hub of strong re-export: 46.3% of imports were re-exported; looking only at the Free Zones, the percentage rises to 70%", stated Massimo Deandreis, General Manager of SRM, presenting the report, the main analyses and results. “With the completion of this study", he added - "SRM extends its vision of the Mediterranean to the Gulf countries. We believe that this area, which is already worth more than 45 billion in exports to Italy, proposes itself as a logistics-shipping hub with regards to trade both with Sub-Saharan Africa and with the Middle and Far East, and this will make it one of the most important hubs in world trade. The UAE will play a leading role", he concluded. “The recent doubling of the Suez Canal will make the role of the UAE even more strategic, considering that the country boasts important and well-established ports and a logistics system of excellence that can rely on over 170 shipping lines and 1,600 logistic companies. And the Mediterranean-Suez-Gulf route, a new horizon of economic growth, will be a source of opportunities for Italian companies”.

  The study then goes into the details of bilateral trade relations between Italy and the UAE with the analysis of the dynamics of international trade, FDI and Italian companies in the UAE, finally focusing on the figures of the United Arab Emirates economy, and highlighting their economic importance and the key indicators that show the country's condition.

  “The value of foreign trade between Italy and the UAE amounts to $ 8 billion: exports account for 90% of the total foreign trade, i.e. 7.1 billion, a figure which has quadrupled in the last fifteen years" said Ferdinando Angeletti, General Manager of the Dubai hub branch and Head of MENA & Turkey hub as part of the International Network & Global Industries of the CIB Division of Intesa Sanpaolo. "With regard to manufactured products only, Italy exports to the UAE $ 6.4 billion, mainly in the mechanical ($ 1.8 billion) and precious metals ($ 1.6 billion) sectors. The “Made in Italy” sector (food, fashion, jewellery and furniture) reached $ 3 billion with a market share of 5.3%. Forecasts up to 2017 of Italian exports to the Emirates show a growth of 8.3% that reaches $ 8 billion: therefore, the “Made in Italy” sector could reach $4 billion" said Angeletti.

  Intesa Sanpaolo is the only Italian bank with a direct operational presence in the Gulf region, where it currently operates in the UAE through its Dubai branch - which also plays the role of International Hub of the CIB Division for the Mediterranean area and the Middle East (MENA) - and the Representative Office in Abu Dhabi. The Hub also includes the branches of Istanbul and the Representative Offices in Beirut, Casablanca, Cairo and Tunis. The offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi work in close synergy with the international network and the Italian functions of the Group, with the aim of providing Emirati, Italian and foreign customers with tailor-made solutions that best fit their financial needs in the short and medium term.

  "With the upcoming opening of the new branch in Abu Dhabi, which we expect to complete by early 2016, the Intesa Sanpaolo Group will further enrich the product range by providing its customers with an onshore platform of services in local currency", concluded Angeletti, calling it “an important step within the scope of our investment and development plan in such a promising area as the Gulf."

  In addition to promoting investments to and from Italy and to supporting partnerships and joint ventures between local and Italian companies, Intesa Sanpaolo, through dedicated specialist teams, offers a wide range of services: corporate banking, export, domestic and international payment services, treasury products. In addition, the collaboration with Banca IMI - the investment bank of the Group - supports the supply of products as part of structured finance, Project and Acquisition Financing, M&A Advisory, Capital Markets, as well as the provision of services for cross border transactions and Financial Risk Management. Customized assistance supports Italian companies in their entrance and development in the local market.