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INCREASED ITALIAN PARTICIPATION IN MIDDLE EAST ELECTRICITY 2009
The Italian electronic and electrical engineering industry is already present in the major world markets, with an export quota of more than 40%. However, it is looking to increase its activity in the Middle East, a strategic region when it comes to raising the profile of Italian products in the global marketplace. The best opportunities seem to be in the Gulf States which with their dynamic economies and their oil revenue are offered a certain degree of “protection” in the present climate of global recession. The presence of this sector of Italian industry at the Middle East Electricity trade fair therefore aims to develop and consolidate business opportunities in the markets of the region, and in Dubai in particular.
Indeed, Dubai itself will be hosting the 34th Middle East Electricity fair, which will be staged at the Dubai International Exhibition Centre from February 8th-10th 2009. Over the years this exhibition has become the main event in the Middle Eastern region for that section of industry concerned with electrical engineering installations, illumination and engineering as well as the sector involved in energy production, distribution and transmission. The exhibition has grown in importance from year to year. In 2008 it was attended by 920 exhibitors, representing 98 nations (but predominantly from the Middle East, North Africa and India). Fifty Italian companies participated, as opposed to 20 at the 2003 event, confirming the increasing presence of Italian manufacturing companies.
This number is due to increase yet again in 2009. With only a few weeks to go, ICE (the Italian Trade Commission) has received more than 60 provisional acceptances. ICE will again be organizing a joint participation at the fair this year, aiming not only to consolidate the presence of small and medium-sized Italian companies which have had previous contact with this recently confronted market, but also to “steer” new companies towards areas which have only recently opened up or are difficult to penetrate.
There is no lack of potential opportunities in the Arab Emirates. Thanks to a strategy of diversification put into practice some years ago, these economies are no longer totally dependent on their oil industry, which accounts for about 30% of their gross domestic product. Dubai, in particular, is one of the Emirates where attempts to diversify have met with the highest level of success. Its strategic position, its duty-free zone, and its capacity to act as a catalyst for Asian, African and European interests make this Emirate an important centre for promoting Italian products not just within the Gulf region, but also in Asia and North Africa.
This is a region offering potentially huge export potential. But this highly professional sector of Italian industry with a turnover of 63 billion Euros and exports of 27 billion is now able to operate in it effectively. This is thanks to the process of restructuring undertaken in recent years which has seen the weakest companies in the sector going out of business as a result of a significant reorganization of the national production base. Although it is operating in a difficult environment, the Italian electronic and electrical engineering industry nonetheless finished the year with further advances in certain niche markets. In the electronics sector turnover was up 6.6% in the automation section and rose 1.8% in the sector concerned with building safety and automation. While in the electrical engineering industry, the sector specializing in lifts and moving staircases continued its expansion, its turnover showing a sustained growth of 10%. This is a sector which could be able to find opportunities in the growing demand for commercial and civil infrastructure in the economies of the Gulf.