The consolidation of bilateral industrial and commercial relations and strengthening coordination on the main international issues were the themes at the center of the official visit of the Minister of Business and Made in Italy, Adolfo Urso, who went on a mission to the Arabian Peninsula from Sunday 26 to Tuesday 28 November. The first stop was Doha, Qatar, where Urso met the Minister of Trade and Industry Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim al Abdullah al Thani, with whom he discussed the strengthening of commercial and industrial synergies between the two countries, with a focus on various sectors of common interest, in which to consolidate collaboration and investments, such as construction, real estate, digital, medical-health and energy. Urso subsequently went to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to meet the Minister of Investment, Khalid al Falih, who he had already met last September in Milan for the Italian-Saudi investment forum. In Saudi Arabia the minister also met with the Chief of Staff of the Public Investment Fund (Pif), Saad al Kroud. The last stage of the visit took place in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, where Urso met the president of the Investment Authority (Adia), Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed al Nahyan, and the Undersecretary with responsibility for investments, Al Hawi, and illustrated the importance of strengthening the "cotton route".
In Doha, Minister Urso illustrated Italy's potential as a European gas hub, as part of the Mattei Plan, and as a potential hub for blue and green hydrogen, through the infrastructure of the Port of Trieste. Furthermore, Urso met with some representatives of the Qatari economic and financial community, including Rachid Mohamed Rachid, CEO of Mayoola for Investments, a fund of the Qatari royal family. Ministers Urso and Al Thani have decided to organize a joint Investment Forum in Doha in May 2024, where Italian and Qatari companies will be able to consolidate their relationships and create new synergies in the sectors of interest to the countries. This is "a strategic area for foreign investments in Italy", explained the minister and, recalling Qatar's commitment to mediating the truce between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, he stated: "We are in the decisive phase: also the strengthening of economic and commercial relations, together with industrial partnerships with Qatar and with Gulf countries, can contribute to the strategy of involvement that Italy and Europe are pursuing." Commercial trade between Rome and Doha reached a record of 2022 billion euros in 7,69. The minister stated that the government's work is aimed at making Italy an increasingly attractive country for foreign investments and, in this context, "the Italian sovereign fund that we are creating with the Made in Italy bill can be the instrument just to make a further, decisive leap in quality with Qatar and the other Gulf countries". The Italian Fund aims to integrate public resources with private ones, opening the capital of the funds to subscriptions from global investors who can be institutional or other sovereign funds.
During the second leg of the visit to Riyadh, Urso had a meeting with the president of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbou, Khalid al Saalem, regarding the strategies of the two countries in the mining sector and in the supply and processing chain of critical raw materials. “With the president at Saalem we have explored the possibility of partnerships and joint investments especially in the extractive sector, both in the respective countries and in third areas, such as the African continent, in coherence with the Mattei Plan that our government is developing”, he said. Urso stated. The parties also discussed the implementation of investments in mutual industrial sectors of interest, such as automotive, oil & gas, defence, nautical, agri-food and projects with a high rate of technological innovation, such as green technologies, hydrogen and Space. In the meeting between Urso and the leaders of the Public Investment Fund (Pif). At the end of his visit to Riyadh, Urso met with the Saudi Investment Minister, Khalid al Falih, and the two confirmed their mutual desire to further strengthen industrial and commercial synergies, in strategic sectors such as petrochemicals, defense, infrastructures, shipbuilding, real estate, technological innovation and space. In the first eight months of 2023, Italian exports to Saudi Arabia reached 2,79 percent, making it the second European country behind Germany.
Finally, during the last stage of the minister of Made in Italy: in the United Arab Emirates, a series of meetings were held on investments to and from Italy, in strategic sectors, such as energy, infrastructure, logistics, connectivity and innovative, green and digital technologies. Urso met Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology of the Emirates and president designate of COP28, which will be hosted in Dubai from 30 November to 12 December, and Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed al Nahyan, president of the Adq and Adia. Together they discussed cooperation on artificial intelligence, digital infrastructure and space. Urso finally met with the Minister of Economy of the Emirates, Abdullah bin Touq al Marri. “The renewed relationship between Italy and the United Arab Emirates on a political, industrial and commercial level is a great opportunity for our countries to increase synergies and investments. We are aware of the need to create a strategic collaboration on global connectivity, also in order to consolidate the 'cotton route' between Italy, the Emirates and, in the future, with India", declared Minister Urso. Italy is the 24th destination market for the Emirates' exports and is in tenth place as a supplier to the country.