June 27, 2003,  Conference Hall of the Chamber of Deputies



The conference “AEREC FOR THE INTERNATIONALIZATION OF BUSINESS AND FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION” at the conference hall of the Chamber of Deputies at the prestigious “Palazzo Marini” in Rome on June 27, 2003, turned out to be a great success on account of the quantity and quality of the speeches as well as of the numerous participation of the diplomatic world with the presence of indeed five Ambassadors, principal interlocutors of the Academy in sight of the upcoming International economic co-operation. (The following is a summary of the event)

Arch. Vincenzo Valenti, Vice President of Ispri, member of AEREC’s Board of Governors, promoter and leading force of AEREC’s Committee for International Affairs, coordinated the conference. In his opening address he welcomed the attendees and expressed the deep regret of the Minister for the Relations with the Parliament Carlo Giovanardi for having been detained in a meeting of the Council of Ministers.

After the address of the President Ernesto Carpintieri who expressed the Academy’s gratefulness towards the distinguished guests who had accepted the invitation to participate in the conference, Arch. Valenti presented AEREC’s activity in the field of the International co-operation.

“AEREC is committed to promotion in the institutional, entrepreneurial, economic, cultural and scientific ambit with the purpose to intensify the presence of our country in the International relations and in the economic co-operation, as well as in the humanitarian field. It firmly promotes International co-operation siding our companies in an increasingly competitive and difficult scenario. I wish to mention the prospect of the expansion of the European Union to the Eastern countries with the consequent  reaction of the countries south of Europe; the fear, in fact, is that the opening to the Eastern countries may cause problems to or  delay the strengthening process between the European Union and the African and Middle East countries. This argument is very important as it concerns the creation of a specific market area instead of another and the consequent strategies.

Our companies are also concerned by another problem: they are certainly supported by a system of assistance and incentives but they are not backed by the global idea of “country system” which permits them to act incisively with reference to the innovative factors the International competition implies. And this lack can be made up by an Institution such as AEREC which numbers individuals who are qualified in the entrepreneurial field.”

Eng. Francesco Bruno, Vice President of AT Kearney  and member of AEREC’s Board of Governors, affirms, ”the internationalization is an opportunity for our companies but at the same time it is a great opportunity for the economy of the emerging countries which need a pulling force coming from the Western companies for the industrial and economic development of their country.

The basic levers for the retrieval of competitiveness of our companies seem to be substantially three: first, the innovation of the product, of the service and of the process; second,  the competitiveness of the operational and organizational processes; third, the internationalization. The third lever of course does not substitute the foregoing but must operate in synergy with them. The internationalization is oriented towards the main industrialized markets.  But the expansion in markets such as Germany, Great Britain, France and the United States is a very complex operation and requires considerable investments. Often the defense of the market shares dominates the expansion in these markets. The strategy of industrialization of the emerging markets is an important opportunity for our companies in terms of business, creation and value for the shareholders. The choice of an emerging market does not depend only on geopolitical factors but also on the policy of the country with regard to foreign investors. The presence, today, of distinguished representatives of these countries testifies the importance of this problem.”

Prof. Stefano M. Masullo, President of Opus Consulting and Chancellor of the Independent International University ISFOA, asserts that the internationalization is not only an opportunity but above all an obligation because the markets have no more frontiers, whereas especially the financial markets have never had them. In this moment, finance, perhaps, is the only real International market. But as a financial consultant I have to warn: finance can’t be it’s only end but must be directed towards the realization of industrial projects. Internationalization means also network of professions since competence today is a must: you must be an expert in International finance, International fiscal planning, law, and so on. Internationalization, first of all, is culture and then technique which, in any case, must be interdisciplinary.

Dr. Luciano Rotondi, ex-counselor of the European Investment Bank and strategic adviser of Artigiancassa, presented three development programs rich in resources of the European Union for the companies: “These programs, of course, concern also disposable funds for governments and public works. The first program, recently simplified for the companies, concerns the countries of Eastern Europe which requested the entry into the European Union. This new system provides the co-operation between the European Bank, the local banks which were assigned the resources and the European Union which supplies the not repayable funds. The second program is MEDA for the Mediterranean countries, Arch. Valenti previously referred to. The epicenter of this system is the European Investment Bank which places the finances at the disposal of local banks in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, etc. as it is already doing in the countries of the European Union such as Italy. The third program of the EU concerns the so-called black Africa and provides not repayable resources of 11 billions for five years in favor of governmental social economic programs without financial profitability, such as schools, water, hospitals that is to say anything useful to the development of these countries.

The entrepreneur who intends to operate in these countries needs advice and support of experts who, for instance, draw up correctly the request of funds, as well as the local assistance of competent persons who know the local language and are able to recognize swaggerers.”

Arch. Valenti made some considerations on the necessity of the right support.

“At this point I wish to refer again to the activity of AEREC’s Committee for International Affairs which is a precious reference point offering support and  information and creating and keeping the necessary contacts with the object that the activity of the entrepreneur is well oriented, supervised with the correct approaches and the complex incisiveness which are necessary for the success of the operation.”

The Ambassador of Mauritania to Italy, H.E. Hamoud Ould Ely, member of the Honorary Committee of AEREC says: “This is not the first time that I participate in the important and valuable initiatives organized by AEREC and I appreciate its role in the approach between the countries and the cultures. Africa is a very old continent with many riches and many resources. It made the experience of a long period of colonization and, after  the attainment of  independence and sovereignty, it sees every state creating its organization establishing relations of cooperation with all good willing countries. The riches of the African countries are represented by oil, mines, fishing and of course by tourism and by the human resources. Some of these countries are successfully committed to the democratization process and keep very good relations with European and Mediterranean countries. Their contacts focus not only on economic and cultural cooperation but also on security, which concerns all the countries of the world. Mauritania, I represent here, has close ties with Italy and a great cooperative potential especially in the field of the fishing industry, tourism, infrastructures and in some years also with the production of oil. In order that cooperation develops positively there must be an effective exchange between the  individuals and the professionals and I hope that AEREC which has already offered my country several opportunities will continue to offer this contribution.

The Ambassador of Algeria to Italy, H.E. Moktar Reguieg started his address expressing his personal pleasure of having accepted the invitation of AEREC that can be the right instrument for the exchange of ideas and opinions and shed light upon the complex program of  mutuality, exchange and co-operation. Algeria attaches a certain importance to the Italian EU Presidency because we consider Italy, in a certain sense, the ideal bridge between Europe and my country. There are already important economic relations between the two countries with an exchange volume of about $ 6 billions in 2002, destined to increase on account of important projects in the energetic sector and in the production of materials of great interest. I think we have all the necessary requirements in order that this cooperation increases more and more also in the ambit of political relation. Algeria is sensible to foreign investments and can offer much in many sectors. However, we have the impression that the European Union, not Italy, at the moment, is concentrating on Eastern countries but we think that it is also very important to fill the gap between North and South. This is the challenge and we have the means to face it. We don’t have to waste words but must take concrete steps.

The Ambassador of Oman to Italy, S.E. Yahya Abdullah Salim Al-Araimi, presented the opportunities of his country affirming that Oman, member of WTO, is a politically stable country which has a very efficient and productive public sector, a strong financial, in particular banking sector and an important leadership. Our control system with reference to the big companies is efficient and the system of international companies is very well established. The foreign companies use the standards of the International sector and the propriety of the business is absolutely open. Oman is situated within the Indian Ocean with 2300 km of coasts and it is consequently very rich in the fishing sector important for the Italian market. The second sector concerns energy. The commercialization of gas has been liberalized in Europe and we have great quantities of gas at our disposal. The third sector is tourism for which the government is realizing many projects. We need to exploit this sector in order to diversify our economy and we are  putting important funds at the disposal of who is interested to invest. These funds can be loans or not repayable contributions. We have a commercial office at our Embassy which provides information and assistance necessary for the development of tourist projects.”

The Ambassador of the Ivory Coast, H.E. Zady Richard Gbaka , first of all, thanked AEREC for the humanitarian project it is realizing in his country and associates with the words of the other Ambassadors with regard to the necessity of the African countries to have an own space within the economic challenge. The statistics on the African economy, on the life conditions, on the mortality and on the alphabetization aren’t encouraging at all. It is absolutely necessary to create the economic conditions for the development. Neban is a new program of partnership, of economic development with the purpose to provide orientation inviting the private sector to help Africa. This is fundamental for the economic rebirth of these countries obviously in a condition of stability and peace as wars and conflicts do not favor entrepreneurs and investments. Therefore we have to support those countries which are putting the process of democratization into effect. I think this kind of meetings are very necessary for us to express our potentials and what we can offer the Italian entrepreneurs. But they are also useful for our entrepreneurs to understand your aspiration and expectations. You don’t have to be afraid of moving your capitals from Europe to Africa and I ask you to believe that we are well determined and always available to inform you on our economy. We do not want that this continent remains on the fringes of development and we need serious entrepreneurs who intend to develop our economic potentials so that our countries are able to make progress and avoid the dramatic emigration.

After having welcomed the Ambassador of Cameroon, H.E. Michael Tabong Kima, Arch. Valenti invited Dr. Luigino Combetto, President of Martini & Rossi, to describe the experience of his company in the international scenario.

“To speak about internationalization and of Martini & Rossi means to mention an unavoidable combination. If the brand Martini today is so famous this is the consequence of one of the first strategic decisions at the moment of its foundation on June 30,1863, that is say to go beyond the national market. The important international development not only of the basic product Martini started with the acquisition of other international brands creating funds that allowed the explosion of communication we are leader of. The ulterior affirmation of the brand and our business was achieved by the creation of the group Martini & Rossi. Before, the group had single companies held directly by the shareholders in various countries. In the seventies these societies merged creating this international group with the head office in Luxembourg.  In the nineties the group Martini merged with the great Rum producer Bacardi and now they are at the 4th place in the beverage sector in the world.

Today it is very important in a business to organize the product, the structure and the control of expenses but above all the human resources. A manager who directs a company must be able to manage the internal structure and has to be aware of the necessities of who works with him. Our company considers this its primary  property. Then, there are products which, in the field of communication, must be lasting. Finally, in order to progress and improve it is necessary to have an internal economic-financial balance which is fundamental to be able to finance oneself.

Hon. Pier Luigi Polverari, President of Apreite, promotes in Tunisia the co-operation between the Italian system and the Tunisian market and economy. He asserts that Tunisia is in transformation from the economic and commercial point of view: the labour cost corresponds to a fifth of the one in Italy and there is total tax exemption for ten years for those who transform their products and reimport them. As to the set-up of the companies there are no restrictions and the capital can be 100% Italian. Tunisia was one of the first countries that made the agreement with the European Community to enter into the area of free exchange which will come into force in 2008. Tunisia is politically stable and the work conditions are extremely favorable also from the point of view of the personal and company security. Consider also its ten-year program for investments and the big works which will be presented , on July 3, by my agency, Apreite, together with the Ambassador of Tunisia in Rome to the Italian-Tunisian chamber of commerce and to the Foreign Trade Commission in a hall of the Italian Parliament.

Prof. Roberto Tassinari, member of AEREC’s Board of Governors and President of the Commission for the internationalization of business of the Parliamentary Observatory asserts that Italy can’t shirk the process of internationalization. According to my experience the best opportunities of investment are doubtless in the developing African countries. The Baltic countries are in transition, that is they need other types of intervention and development and during my frequent travels I noticed that Italy is almost absent in these countries whereas it is very present in North Romania. In this case it is not adequate to speak of internationalization as there are many North Italian companies that have simply transferred parts of their company in order to spare on the labour costs. But internationalization does not mean delocation in order to produce cheaply a product that afterwards will be reimported in Italy with the denomination “made in Italy”. We have to be very careful that the process of internationalization takes place in the right manner. I think the entrepreneurs have to make important efforts as they are the most important part of the process, more than governments and institutions. 

AEREC’s President Ernesto Carpintieri concluded the session thanking all speakers and reasserting that AEREC’s Commission for International Affairs is ready to assist the Italian companies in the internationalization and expansion process with qualified professionals who are able to direct and pilot the projects optimizing time, costs and energies. The International credit of AEREC today allows to work seriously and to obtain success without adventures. It is however necessary that the entrepreneurs express their courage and initiative reckoning on a well organized structure such as ours which can provide competence, assistance and reliability.