Rome/Kolkata: Several companies from Italy – one of the nations worst-hit by the Covid 19 pandemic and a resulting dismal economy – are looking forward to furthering their business with India when life returns to a normal pace, according to Italy-based ArtValley, which hosts projects and international forums for the promotion of specific cultural and geo-political initiatives.
Over the past few years, ArtValley has been creating an amenable platform between Italy and India in the fields of enterprise, technology and culture.
According to Francesca Bruni, who spearheads ArtValley, in a situation like this, where there are so many unknowns, it is difficult to gauge exactly when the recovery will start.
“I am sure that the recent measures taken by the Italian government –although these need to be stronger – and other national governments, such as the $2 trillion aid package expected to be passed in the U.S. and the $814 billion recently approved by Germany, as well as those of the ECB (although there is no agreement on Eurobonds yet) and the Federal Reserve, should help to stabilise global markets and give us confidence that we will have the financial agility we need to recover quickly as soon as the situation allows,” said Bruni.
Bruni quoted Italian journalist Mario Sechi, who is also Director of List and the National Press Agency, AGI as saying, “In any case, this crisis shows the strength (and the great weakness) of China, which lacked timeliness and transparency in its communication about the virus. A new geopolitical game has begun in which Europe will play its cards.’
According to Bruni, Italy and India have much to offer each other and both nations, which are already collaborating on various projects, can continue to work without interruption.
“With the M.Hub [Metal Hub] Italy-India exchange platform, we are looking at India as much more than just a marketplace,” said Bruni, adding that “we see it as a genuine relational and engineering hub.”
“M.Hub is geared towards developing cooperation between Indian businesses and Italian companies, which are working in the capacity of technology integrators with those that are ready to receive these technologies in countries that have a large user base to develop, such as India. So, we are looking forward to a brilliant future, beyond this crisis.”
M. Hub or Metal Hub is an advanced platform targeted at decision makers in the metal industry sectors, and focused on the industrial and cultural exchange between geopolitical areas.
Maurizio Sala, president of Amafond, the Italian Association of Foundry Suppliers, and entrepreneur (Ecocer) said, “India will be an important, even indispensable partner for Italy and for Europe. Why? Because it has the raw materials and produces around 3.5 million tons of primary aluminium. Europe needs 8 so it can buy 6. My company can and must collaborate with Indian foundries, smelters and downstream companies and will also be able to produce locally with a partner who wants to invest in applied technology.”
Giuseppe Sportelli, managing director of Saira in Italy, a company working in the railways interiors sector, said, “The unprecedented world pandemic we are experiencing today could bring with it the risk of creating divisions in a world which is more interconnected now than ever before. It will certainly be necessary to rethink and improve relations between world economies, but what must absolutely be avoided is the creation of walls and borders between countries.”
“In this context, when there are disruptions, a strengthening of relations between Italy and India would help both countries to become less dependent on the accessibility of products and services from a single nation, such as China.”
According to ArtValley, there have been major setbacks to the entire global economy; tourism, HORECA (HORECA is the Dutch-language term for the food service and hotel industries), and the airline industry have all taken a tremendous blow.
Luca Svaluto, a Milan-based investor and expert in financial markets, said, “National debts will be higher, but being all in the same situation there will be mutual trust in the sustainability of that debt.
“Measures could then be taken to obligate private interests to underwrite the debt: for example in pension funds. Perhaps there will be an inflationary period so that the debt will deflate over time. I agree with Mario Draghi (former head of the ECB) that the alternative of structurally reducing production capacity is worse. With current technologies, we may no longer reach the level of employment that preceded this crisis.”
Over the past several years, ArtValley has collaborated in a broad programme of initiatives that have involved promoting cultural and commercial connections between India, especially Eastern India, and Italy.
These initiatives included conferences in Italy and in Kolkata and Orissa as well as bilateral delegations and visits to industrial, business, and cultural hubs.
ArtValley has focused on sectors such as equipment, machinery, transportation, steel and aluminium metallurgy, leather, and tannery, among others.
The states involved, in addition to New Delhi and Mumbai with Maharashtra, are Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Karnataka.