XXIII session of the Russian-Italian Working Group on industrial districts and cooperation in the sphere of small and medium-sized businesses was opened in Turin (the Italian Republic) on November 12, 2013.

The President of the Piedmont Region Roberto Cota, Minister of Economic Development of Italy Flavio Zanonato, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Italy and the Republic of San Marino Sergei Razov, Director General of the Department for promotion of Italian companies abroad and the development of trade exchange of the Ministry of Economic Development of Italy, co-chair of the Working Group from Italian side Pietro Celi gave a speech at the plenary meeting.

Welcoming the participants, Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Pavel Korolev noted that Italy acted as «privileged» trade and economic partner ranked the fifth among the countries in the world in terms of trade turnover volume for Russia. «But the growth of mutual trade turnover does not fully reflect the existing potential for cooperation», – said Pavel Korolev. One of the most important priorities for Russia is to promote the development of small and medium-sized businesses, reorient it to the high-tech industries with a greater share of intellectual labor. The activity of the Russian-Italian Working Group on industrial districts and cooperation in the sphere of small and medium-sized businesses serves these purposes. For 11 years it has become a major practical platform for forming and deepening relations between enterprises with emphasis on the creation of joint projects and productions.

«It is no accident that Turin, which is the capital of the Piedmont Region, became the venue for this session of the Working Group, – said the Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation. – Piedmont is the region with strong industrial traditions, which are constantly developing through innovative approaches. This fact makes it attractive for the implementation of international investment projects. Let me remind you that our countries, in particular the Piedmont Region, are connected by traditions of industrial and economic cooperation, especially in such sectors as machine-tool construction, oil processing and oil synthesis, power and transport engineering». This experience of cooperation , according to the words of Korolev, allows us to look forward to the successful development of partnerships with companies in other sectors – chemical , electrotechnical, food, textile industries, and, of course, in the agricultural sector.

The specific projects from Russian and Italian side will be discussed in the framework of the planned seminars and thematic round tables. This fact confirms the high practical importance of the Working Group. «Special attention should be paid to such promising area of bilateral cooperation as the interaction between the Italian innovation clusters and Russian technology parks», – noted the Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation.

«Therefore, participation of representatives of small and medium-sized businesses from 25 Russian regions in the meeting of the Working Group in Turin is the clear confirmation of the large mutual interest in implementing joint projects and establishing long-term partnerships», – stressed Pavel Korolev.

«180 people from 25 Russian regions – explained co-chair of the Working Group from Russian side, trade representative in Italy Natela Shengelia in her speech,- And they include 93 companies, representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, Russian banks, national and regional administrations. There are those who come regularly: Sverdlovsk region, Ulyanovsk region, Kaluga region, Nizhny Novgorod region, the Republic of Bashkortostan and the Republic of Tatarstan, and many others – and those who came for the first time: Tula region, Saratov region and Magadan region».

Natela Shengelia also added that the activity of the Working Group is not limited to the meetings; additional targeted business missions are held both in Italy and in Russia, as a result of which new agreements on cooperation are reached between enterprises.

On the first day, 4 round tables on innovation cooperation in the sphere of alternative energetics, construction and woodworking, machine building and metallurgy, automobile industry (automotive components manufacturing), and aircraft industry were held. Business forum «New possibilities of cooperation in the sphere of tourism» was also held, where the issues of exchange in the field of spa tourism, cruise and yacht tourism, ski tourism, and infrastructure development of small historical towns, tourist centers, and personnel training in this area were discussed. The forum was on the eve of the official opening of «The cross year of tourism of Russia and Italy».

Three seminars on current business topics will be held in the framework of the meeting of the Working Group on November 13, 2013:

  • Customs authorities and international trade, the pilot project «Green corridor»;
  • Film industry and audio-visual technologies – the possibilities of development of bilateral trade relations for companies in Russia and Italy;
  • Instruments for attracting investments. The mechanisms of financial support of small and medium-sized enterprises.

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The Working Group was established in 2002 on the initiative of Vladimir Putin and Silvio Berlusconi in the framework of the Russian-Italian Council on economic, industrial, currency and financial cooperation. Currently, it has grown into a prestigious Russian-Italian business forum – an ideal platform for the establishment of direct contacts between Russian and Italian companies. Russia has no analogues of this mechanism of bilateral cooperation with any other country. Over past few years the meetings have been attended by entrepreneurs from 59 Russian and all Italian regions.

These are the examples of successful results of the activity of the Working Group:

  • supplies of metalized fabrics of Russian manufacture for the collection of Nina Ricci to Italy. The contract between Ivtehnomash LLC (Ivanovo region) and Saatiprint Spa (Lombardy region) was signed at the XV session of the Russian-Italian Working Group in Venice in 2009;
  • cooperation in the agricultural sector. Agreement between the Government of Kaluga region and Italian company Botstsola was signed at the XVI session of the Russian-Italian Working Group in Kaluga in 2010;
  • supplies of radiological equipment in Russia. The agreement between Intelmedtehnika LLC and the company VILLASISTEMIMEDICALI was signed during the XVII session of the Russian-Italian Working Group in Bari in 2010;
  • supplies of high-tech equipment in the field of light industry in Russia. The contract between the company TEKNOPEA and A and Raduga LLC was signed in Ulyanovsk in 2011;
  • supplies of components for the joint production of heating equipment using waste wood-based industries. The contract between Lesnaya Niva LLC (Ulyanovsk region) and UNICALAGS.PA in the framework of XXI session of the Russian-Italian Working Group in Nizhny Novgorod in 2013.