Abu Dhabi: Italy is seeking investments into its sovereign fund by Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and UAE capital, Giorgio Starace the Italian Ambassador to the UAE, told Gulf News on Sunday.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti will pay a one-day official visit to the UAE on November 20. He will hold talks with His Highness President Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Al Ain and sign an agreement for further cooperation between the two countries in economic, political, military and cultural fields. He will also hold talks with His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, according to Ambassador Starace.
“There are strong links between the UAE and Italy. It is no accident that Monti, an economist, will visit the UAE as a major destination for him in the Gulf region,” he said.
“We are also interested in potential initiatives to be taken by sovereign funds such as ADIA to buy our debts,” he said, adding that “Monti’s visit is on the right time.”
ADIA has investments worth $875 billion (Dh3.21 trillion) in shares and bonds issued by industrial and financial companies all over the world.
The visit aims to build a higher level of cooperation to safeguard Italy as a major key player in terms of trade.
“We have made great progress in Italy to improve our economic ties with the UAE. At a time that attention is paid to sovereign funds, we still work hard to support our companies to have stronger presence in the Middle East region, with the Gulf as a springboard,” he said.
“The UAE is Italy’s top trade partner and the most important market in the Middle East and North Africa [Mena] region.
“Out exports to the UAE increased by 27 per cent in the six months of the year and are expected to reach a record of ¤5.5 billion by the end of 2012,” he added.
Since the Italian economy depends mainly on interest in sovereign funds, “we are seeking to increase investments in Made in Italy products, but also to contribute to its sovereign debt through talks with ADIA”.
The Investment Corporation of Dubai, the Emirates Investment Authority and the Mubadala Development Company have 35 per cent of Piaggio Aero Industries and shares in Poltrona Frau.
To commemorate the occasion of the UAE National Day on December 2, he said Alitalia will add four flights a week to Abu Dhabi in partnership with Etihad from Rome on December, 2012, Starace said.
Monti’s visit is the first in five years since Romano Prodi’s visit to the Gulf in 2007.
Ambassador Starace pointed out that not only trade between Italy and the UAE is improving, but also political diplomatic cooperation.
“We have witnessed very great political and diplomatic cooperation between our two countries, particularly in the Libyan issue as Italy and the UAE were constantly in touch,” he explained.
Last year, Italian companies won about ¤7.5b billion in contracts across various sectors within Abu Dhabi.