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BY MOHAMMAD SHOEB
DOHA: The Italian Business Council of Qatar (IBQC) is set to become the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Qatar (ICCQ). It was announced by the President of IBCQ, Palma Libotte, in an interactive meeting of a visiting Italian Business delegation and Qatari businessmen here yesterday.
Battling economic recession and plummeting demand at home as well as in most part of Europe, Italian companies are now eying Qatar and other GCC states to explore business opportunities aggressively. As the preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup picks up momentum, Italian companies, especially, the small and medium enterprises, are trying to tap business potential here.
“We have signed an agreement with Qatar Businessmen’s Association (QBA) to promote long term relationships between Italian and Qatari companies to bring the best products. Our new office of ICCQ will be close to QBA headquarters”, Libotte, told the meeting.
She added: “We are very selective about the products that are needed in the local market rather than just having the delegation of entrepreneurs for nothing.”
Also present in the meeting were Mohammed Mahdi Al Ahbai, Board Member of Qatar Chamber; Silvia Tosi, Deputy Head of Mission at Italian Embassy; Pamela Mc Dowell and Anna Silvia of IBCQ, among others.
After the meeting and presentation was over, Qatari businessmen interacted with one another and expressed their interests to invest in various fields.
Asked about the present volume of bilateral trade between Qatar and Italy, both Tosi as well as Libotte referred each others’ name and declined to comment. However, as per the available figures, the two sides had anticipated the volume of trade to increase to €2bn (QR10bn) in 2011 from €1.55bn in 2010.
“We do not want to just sell our products or do business. We want to strengthen our existing trade relationship for long term. And this is why we have decided to open our headquarter here to promote business and commerce in Qatar as well as across the Middle East”, said Massimo Manelli, Director General of Confindustria Monza e Brianza (Confederation of Industries, Monza e Brianza).
“We have a number of senior representatives from some of the Italian companies who are here to establish business partnerships with Qatari entrepreneurs. Generally speaking, we in Italy do not have mass production. We have companies with high range of products and processes”, he added.
Highlighting the Italian way of doing business, he said that the philosophy lies in the high quality products with superior design that are usually the outcome of years of intensive research and development which speak for themselves.
Founded in 2004 under the patronage of the Italian Embassy, IBCQ is said to have a dense network of contacts in Italy and Qatar, and is linked with all major chambers and business associations in both the countries.