Italy, which has seen a growing number of exhibitors at The Big 5 over these years, is expected to host a strong contingent this year as well both in terms of numbers and exhibition space.
Italian companies will be offering the latest products and services in building, earthmoving and construction machinery, cleaning and maintenance products and equipment, water and environmental technologies, ceramics, metal products, as well as project management and consultancy. Also participating at The Big 5 will be many consortia, chambers of commerce and associations from Italy.
Part of this contingent will be the Italian Trade Agency (ITA), Trade Promotion Office of the Italian Embassy, Dubai, which will be providing the exhibiting Italian companies with vital information on how to penetrate the local market. It will also give visitors useful information about the Italian participants and how to do business with Italy.
Dr Ferdinando Fiore, Italian Trade Commissioner, Trade Promotion Office of the Italian Embassy, comments: “Since the inception of The Big 5 expo, Italian companies have been major participants in the show: the number of Italian exhibitors soared from 250 in the 2005 edition to 398 in 2014.”
He says the new wave of construction activities in the UAE will open new opportunities for Italian companies to showcase their capabilities and state-of-the-art products. In addition, the expansion of commercial and hospitality activities in the country will also offer avenues to Italian companies to increase their investments and presence in the UAE market.
“The latest figures show that the construction sector is an integral part of the UAE urbanisation plans. While construction spending in the UAE in 2012 was just $24.7 billion, in 2015 it is expected to exceed $50.5 billion, with Abu Dhabi and Dubai leading the race in real estate development projects. Dubai, in particular, is already involved in construction plans in the run-up to Expo 2020 Dubai, when almost 25 million visitors will flock to the expo site.
“As a matter of fact, the cost of infrastructure which will be completed by 2020 is $6 billion, during which period more than 140 hotels with 114,000 rooms will be built. The UAE is also among the top GCC leading countries in terms of residential and commercial projects, not to mention hospitality, health and transportation,” says Dr Ferdinando.
He further says that mutually beneficial opportunities have underpinned the strong ties that have gradually been established all over the past decade between the UAE and Italy. “Italian companies are focusing on the UAE, not only as a commercial hub, but to explore new dimensions of business and investment opportunities,” he adds.
Italian exports to the UAE have risen steadily from €4.73 billion ($5.29 billion) in 2011 to €5.32 billion ($5.95 billion) in 2014. Export figures for the January to May period this year stand at €2.55 billion ($2.85 billion), a 16.2 per cent increase compared to the first five months of 2014.
The main products exported by Italy in the construction and building materials sector are wood (in particular, wooden doors and windows), marble and stones, pipes, cables and steel products.
UAE export to Italy, on the other hand, have seen a decline from €860 million ($962 million) in 2011 to €628 million ($703 million) in 2014. For January to May 2015, the figures stood at €299 million ($334.6 million).
There are more than 300 Italian companies with offices in the UAE and operating in various fields, including oil and gas technology and exploration; civil engineering, consulting and contracting; energy engineering; banking; airline and shipping lines; trading (marble, furniture, heavy and construction equipment and vehicles, and foodstuff); steel production; and refrigeration.
The Italian Trade Agency is a governmental agency that is tasked with the promotion and development of trade between Italy and the rest of the world, thereby encouraging the internationalisation of Italian companies, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and helping them penetrate foreign markets.
The agency’s head office, located in Rome, constantly exchanges information with its network of 65 offices around the world.
Through participation in international exhibitions, trade missions, workshops and other initiatives, ITA enhances business opportunities and reinforces the ‘Made in Italy’ brand all around the world.
The ITA’s Trade Promotion Office of the Italian Embassy is based in Dubai and covers the UAE and Oman. It promotes bilateral trade, giving assistance and consultancy to both Italian and local companies and organising promotional initiatives like trade delegations to Italy and the UAE, symposia, workshops, official participation at exhibitions and market surveys.