Qatar and Italy's economic ties witnessed a fillip in the past few years. The total trade exchange between the two countries stood at 2.3 billion euro in 2015. The volume of exports from Italy to Qatar was 1 billion euro, while Qatar exported gas and oil to Italy worth 1.3 billion euro last year. The Italian Trade Agency (ITA) at the Italian Embassy in Doha participated in the Project Qatar 2016. The Italian delegation was the second biggest European team at event, reflecting strong interest from Italian companies to invest in Qatar. The trade commissioner of Italian Embassy in Qatar Andrea Ferrari spoke to Qatar Tribune's Sameh Saeid about Italy's trade and commercial relations with Qatar. Excerpts:
Q: Can you please tell us about the goals and aims of the ITA?
A: The ITA is a government agency and aims to promote Italian firms. It helps facilitate Italy's economic and trade relations with Qatar.
It also provides consultancy to Italian companies operating in Qatar.
The agency seeks to promote Italian exports to Qatar, besides fostering cooperation in all areas of trade and industry. It also aims to make the presence of the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) effective in Qatar.
Q: What are other activities of ITA?
A: ITA invited a group of engineering experts and representatives of eight Italian companies to Qatar on May 23 to discuss cooperation with Qatari companies, including Qatar Rail and Kahramaa. Representatives of 22 Qatari companies visited Italy and participated in an exhibition there last year on an invitation from the ITA.
Q: How many Italian companies are working in Qatar and the GCC countries?
A: There are around 60 companies operating in the GCC, of which 16 are working and based in Qatar.
Q: In what sectors these companies are working?
A: Most of these companies are working in construction sector. However, there are many SMEs working in food, furniture and electro-mechanical sectors, especially in Qatar.
Q: What is the volume of trade between Qatar and Italy?
A: The total trade exchange between the two countries stood at 2.3 billion euro in 2015. The volume of exports from Italy to Qatar was 1 billion euro, while Qatar exported gas and oil to Italy worth 1.3 billion euro last year.
Q: Are Italian companies participating in the projects related to Fifa world cup 2022 and free economic zones in Qatar?
A: ITA maintains contacts with holding companies working on Fifa projects such as Ashghal and Qatar Rail to help them in construction, machinery, electric, IT and lighting related work.
We are also interested to work in free economic zones in Qatar and hope to participate in the logistics sector.
We plan to manufacture some products in Qatar to be sold in the GCC countries. There are so many Italian SMEs interested to work with Qatari SMEs in the industrial sector.
Q: Tell us about Qatari investment in Italy?
A: ITA encourages Qatari investment in Italy. The total Qatari investment in Italy is $5 billion, mostly in hotels and stock exchange markets.
Q: How many Italians are in Qatar?
A: Over 2,200 but the number is growing.