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UAE-Italy trade on the rise

May 24, 2007 - 08:54 -

Sharjah,May 24th, 2007 (WAM) -- Italian Lifestyle in the UAE Exhibition, scheduled to begin at Expo Centre Sharjah on May 29, will be a major booster for UAE-Italy trade relations.

Organisers said the UAE continues to be Italy?s leading trade partner in the GCC region followed by Saudi Arabia.

During the first 11 months of 2006, Italy?s exports to the UAE reached 2.92 billion euros, compared to 2.28 billion euros for the same period in 2005, an increase of 28.07%.

The UAE has been maintaining its position as Italy?s top trading partner in the GCC region since 1999. Saudi Arabia, which is the second biggest market, imported Italian products worth 2.1 billion euros during the first 11 months of 2006.

Among the main Italian exports to the GCC region are jewellery, clothes, footwear, cosmetics, food and construction material.

In 2006, Italy exported jewellery valued at over 400 million euros to the UAE. Exports of Italian clothing to the UAE reached 90 million euros during the same period, an increase of 47% over the previous year.

However, it is the export of Italian building materials to the UAE that has exceeded all growth expectations.

Italy?s exports of building materials to UAE increased by 50% in 2006, a clear reflection of the booming construction sector in the country.

In the building materials category, export of pipes registered a 128 % rise while that of metals (excluding iron) grew by a huge 245 %.

Both UAE and Italy are actively seeking to further strengthen trade relations between themselves and several initiatives have been taken by both the countries in this direction.

The Italian Lifestyle in the Emirates Exhibition, which will be held at Expo Centre Sharjah from May 29 ? June 1, 2007, is one such initiative.

The exhibition will be in its fourth edition this year.

?The Italian Life style in the Emirates Exhibition is a glowing reflection of the warming trade ties between UAE and Italy,? said Mr. Saif Al Midfa, Director General of Expo Centre Sharjah at a media briefing at Expo Centre Sharjah on Thursday.

?The grand success of the last three editions of the Italian Lifestyle in the Emirates Exhibition is an indication of the growing demand for Italian goods and services in the region. This exhibition is aimed at catering to those in the region who are in search of Italy?s artistic excellence coupled with its industrial marvel. It is the only sourcing platform in the Middle East for authentic and quality Italian products and services,? he added.

Exhibit profile includes furniture, furnishings, interior decor products, food items, and fashion accessories.

?The highest number of companies at this year?s Italian Lifestyle in the Emirates exhibition are engaged in the furniture, furnishings, interior decor products and home fittings and accessories sector,? said Al Midfa.

?Given that the region has been experiencing a construction boom and Italian export of building materials to the UAE has witnessed a sharp increase, the participation of so many companies dealing in this particular product profile under one roof, is highly significant. The event will serve as a one-stop shop for the regional contracting sector,? he added.

Within the GCC, the UAE is the largest construction market with more than USD $ 350 billion worth of active projects.

It is estimated that USD $ 463 billion have been injected in to the UAE freehold market with 30,000 units planned for delivery in 2007.

On the commercial office space front, over 24 million sq. ft is currently under development in Dubai alone.

A major highlight for the region?s contracting sector at the coming edition of the Italian Lifestyle in the Emirates exhibition will be a Conference on the sidelines titled ?Scope for cooperation between Italian SMEs and the Middle East Contracting sector? on May 30, 2007.

Subjects and issues that will be taken up for discussion at the event will include Trends in Furniture & Interior Design, Contract as an instrument for the internalization of the Small and Medium Italian enterprise, A business opportunity with the Toscana Contract Group in the Contracting sector, The Italian Design in the Emirates, Architectural Lighting & Interior.

Besides interior decor products and building materials, food will be another major area of focus at the 2007 edition of the Italian Lifestyle in the Emirates exhibition with over 50 well known Italian food companies participating in the event.

For Middle East based food companies looking at either entering in to alliances with their Italian counterparts or acquiring distributorship or agencies of Italian food products and services, the event will be ideal to visit. For food connoisseurs it will be an absolute gastronomic delight.

No Italian lifestyle exhibition can be considered complete without fashion items and accessories.

The Italian fashion industry boasts of 70,000 companies and 700,000 professionals with annual revenues exceeding 48 billion euro. The industry is admired the world over.

The Italian Lifestyle in the Emirates exhibition will feature a wide range of fashion items and accessories including Italian made bags, handbags, duffel bags, packs in different materials, ties, small leather goods, leather accessories, costume jewellery, natural cosmetics prepared from Sardinian herbs, fashion accessories and costume jewellery in Murano glass, gifts and fancy goods, men's bags, fabrics, silverware, leather belts, table and bed linen.

The Italian Lifestyle in the Emirates exhibition, besides being the region?s only sourcing platform for Italian goods and services, is a perfect avenue for exploring scope for tie-ups with Italy-based companies and other investment opportunities. It will host several Italian chambers of commerce and trade promotion bodies.

The Italian Lifestyle in the Emirates exhibition is being jointly organised by the Italian Trade Commission in Dubai, Artex, the Italian Industry & Commerce office in the UAE, and Expo Centre Sharjah, with the support of ACARI, Italian Ministry of International Commerce, CNA, Confartigianato, and the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI).