By Majd Othman
KUWAIT: Italian Ambassador to Kuwait Carlo Baldocci told Kuwait Times in an exclusive interview that the export volume to Kuwait in the fashion sector increased by almost 50 percent in 2022 compared to 2021. Fashion exports constitute 7 percent of the total volume of Italian exports to Kuwait. He pointed out that in the first 10 months of 2022, exports to Kuwait in the fashion sector amounted to around €120 million, while it was around €85 million in the same period in 2021.
“Fashion trade between Kuwait and Italy is growing, as it is one of the traditional sectors between us for many years. We feel there is room for further expansion for Italian companies to expand in the Kuwaiti market,” Baldocci said. “Due to the strong presence of Italian fashion in the country, many Kuwaitis and residents fly to Italy every week to visit, experiment and shop our fashion trends. In the last year, we had around 25,000 visitors to Italy from Kuwait. Therefore, we hope to increase weekly direct flights from Kuwait to Rome and Milan to more than one flight daily,” he added.
Developing other business relations
Baldocci pointed out the very good political and cultural relations between both countries helped in the development of business relations in different sectors, clarifying that in 2022, Italy was the top country in the European Union as a trade partner with Kuwait. “By the end of this year, we are expecting to exceed more than €2.2 billion in Italian exports to Kuwait, while currently, exports reached €1.8 billion, which is more than a 110 percent increase compared to 2021,” he said.
“In addition, it is important to notice the positive trend of Kuwaiti exports, which increased to more than €300 million in 2022 compared to 2021. Currently, all other exporting sectors from Italy to Kuwait are booming, starting from machinery, electrical and engineering. We are the seventh top exporting country to Kuwait,” Baldocci added.
Oil and gas sector
Last week, Kuwait saw a visit of 26 Italian companies in the field of oil, gas and power, and Ambassador Baldocci discussed their expectations and goals. “We had very important meetings with public and major private sector companies, while we had a general overview of future business plans in Kuwait, which translated to a significant B2B (business to business) session with local companies. We believe there are many projects that Italian companies can add more value to local Kuwaiti companies to be more successful. We have an interesting list of activities that are going on now in the oil and gas sector and there are projects for the future,” he said. “We are exploring possibilities of cooperating in providing more forms of collaboration in the oil and gas sector, not to mention creating links in terms of training staff in the same field by Italian experts. Renewables is also a very promising sector of collaboration,” he added.
The Italian ambassador also discussed cooperation in food security. “There were several interlocutors with the Kuwaiti side and we all agreed this is the best time to have an opportunity to start preparations for all different aspects of the food security chain. There are a lot of potentials, because it is not only the food industry when we talk about food security; it is also the capacity of bringing possibilities of enlarging the capacity of producing and processing food in the country and to make Kuwait a food hub in the region,” he concluded.