By Sami Zaptia.
London, 3 October 2021:
At Libya Build 2021, to be held from 4-7 October at the Tripoli International Fairgrounds, the Italian Trade Agency (ITA/ICE) and the Italian Embassy will set up an exhibition space within the fairground, to act as a reference point for all Italian companies present at the fair.
The ITA informed Libya Herald that these companies will be able to take advantage of the space set up to carry out any b2b meetings with local counterparts who wish to deepen their knowledge of Italian offers and opportunities, and to display their company brochures containing useful references, production images and key projects.
The ITA will be constantly manning the institutional area, providing qualified assistance to Italian companies regarding the Libyan market and to local professionals interested in Italian production.
On the occasion of the ITA reopening its desk in Tripoli on 20 September and its participation in Libya Build 2021, Libya Herald put some questions to Romano Baruzzi, the ITA’s Tripoli Desk Trade Commissioner.
Libya Herald (LH): Why does Italy feel this is the right time to reopen its Trade Agency desk in Tripoli?
Libya has always represented one of the preferential markets for Italian companies, especially for the energy and construction sectors. Before the revolution of 2011, according to data from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there were more than 100 Italian companies operating in Libya and Italy was the leading exporter to Libya. Our objective is therefore to restore and exceed these results.
LH: What are the encouraging factors for the reopening?
Today Libya needs huge investments in infrastructures of every kind to transform itself into a modern country – and, with the right governmental action plan, there would be all the necessary conditions to restart.
LH: What are the aims and services the ITA hopes to provide?
Considering the particular importance of the Libya Build exhibition for the construction of the macro-sector, the Italian Trade Agency (ITA), which has recently reopened its own Promotional Desk in Libya, together with the Italian Embassy in Tripoli, will participate in the event through the creation of an institutional booth.
Its function will be to support Italian companies that will participate independently in the initiative and monitor/strengthen the Italian presence in the local market.
LH: What are the Libya-Italy trade figures?
In the entire year 2020, the value of trade between Italy and Libya reached a total of 2.6 billion euros, gaining second place after Turkey which totaled 2.89 billion euros, China in third place with 2.38 billion euros, Germany in fourth place with 1.18 billion euros and Spain in fifth place with 0.92 billion euros.
Although we are still far from the historical values that have seen Italy’s trade with Libya exceed 15 billion euros, Italy has established itself, in the first semester of 2021, as the first destination market for Libyan exports with a market share of 20%.
Italy-Libya trade, in the first 6 months of this year, has already exceeded 2.8 billion euros with an increase of 139.34% compared to the same 6-month period in 2020. In the first semester of 2021, trade between Libya and the world reached 14.7 billion euros. Italy is the first client country of Libya, followed by China, Spain and Germany.
LH: What are the future projections for Italian-Libyan trade?
According to the Export Report 2021: “Back to the future: anatomy of a post-pandemic recovery”, presented a few days ago by SACE (the Italian Export Credit Agency and an active participant in the major international organizations within the Export Credit industry), purchases of products from Italy to Libya will increase by 27.2% in 2021, after a 29.3% decrease recorded in 2020. Finally, the SACE group forecasts an increase in Italian exports to Libya of 8.6 and 6.2 per cent in 2022 and 2023-24, respectively.
LH: Are there any specific targeted sectors?
Italian imports from Libya are still led by crude oil at 83%, followed by natural gas at 14% and, to a lesser extent, by products derived from oil refinery and basic chemicals, fertilizers, and nitrogen compounds.
The sectors in which there are more opportunities for Italian SMEs, both in terms of exports and investments, are many, in particular: agricultural mechanization, fishing, the cold chain, the packaging sector, marble processing, metal processing, metalworking, plastic processing and woodworking machinery, infrastructure, building materials and machinery, hotel equipment, telecommunications, furniture, food products, shoes and other consumer goods in general.
Italian Trade Agency (ICE) re-establishes itself in Libya | (libyaherald.com)