Italy’s overall exports to Qatar in 2017 saw a 3% increase over 2016 to push total trade volume between the two countries to €2.3bn last year, according to an Italian Trade Agency (ITA) official.
Despite the economic blockade imposed on Qatar in June 2017, trade commissioner Giosafat Rigano said the country is witnessing “continuous growth” as reflected by last year’s 9% increase in Qatar-Italy trade volume compared to 2016.
“There is a €28mn surplus in favor of Qatar but we can consider that the trade balance has stabilized; the most important things is that it is growing. Overall exports to Qatar increased by 3% in 2017, and if we consider the crisis and the forthcoming months, it was a huge and very positive result,” Rigano emphasized.
According to Rigano, Italy is Qatar’s second main supplier of marble, which increased by 30% in 2017, and the top exporter to Qatar for ceramic tile coating, which grew by 38% for the same period.
“Italy has a confident forecast in Qatar’s construction sector and this is demonstrated by the large number of
companies that are replying to our invitation to the latest edition of Project Qatar.
“There are new opportunities in several sectors not only in building and construction but also in the fields of landscaping and green development, which are the latest trends because they respond to the requirements of Qatar National Vision 2030,” Rigano told Gulf Times.
Deputy head of Mission Carlotta Colli of the Italian embassy said the presence of Italian businesses in Qatar “has significantly broadened and gained new momentum,” adding that the growth in bilateral trade and new partnerships have developed in view of 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Speaking in a business meeting held recently, Colli underscored that many ministerial visits took place in Doha in the last eight months.
“We received six ministers and our prime minister in the previous period. This proves how much the Italian government is committed to improve relations with Qatar and to improve relations between Italian and Qatari companies.
“We had signed many important agreements in the fields of defense and construction sector, among others. All these happened amidst a regional situation, which is faced with challenges and constraints. But we also know that the Qatar government has put in place very timely measures and response to reduce and prevent potential economic and social spillover, and we also very much appreciate that has been done in respect to the bilateral relations with Italy,” Colli stressed.
She added that to increase trade volume between both countries, plans are in the pipeline to attract more Qatari investments to Italy, which are in varied sectors like real estate and the hospitality industry, among others.