Exportiamo.it met Maurizio Forte, Director of the Italian Trade Agency in New York to discuss about the International Franchise Expo and the opportunities for Made in Italy to expand in the US market.
For the second year Italy will exhibit at the International Franchise Expo in New York with a significant growth since the first participation. How important it is to promote the Made in Italy concepts in the U.S. market?
Yes, this will be the Italian Trade Agency’s second consecutive participation with a national pavilion at the International Franchise Expo in New York. Last year, we participated for the first time with three companies and one Italian Association, this year our presence has grown to eight companies and the three leading Italian Franchising Associations, Assofranchising, Confimprese and Federfranchising have a much bigger pavilion. This is a testament to the increasing relevance of Franchising as an important commercial channel for Made in Italy in the United States. Until recently Franchising had remained relatively little explored by Italian companies whereas in this market franchising is widely established as a viable alternative to large distribution channels and can therefore make more accessible the direct entry into the market for our producers. Moreover, the business outlook for US franchising continues to be excellent. According to the latest survey conducted for the IFA by IHS Economics, Franchising’s growth continues to outpace the rest of the economy. In 2018 the number of establishments is expected to grow an additional 1.9% to 759,000, with employment in this sector projected to grow 3.7% and a GDP growth forecast to exceed the U.S. GPD growth and increase by 6.1% to $451 billion. The franchise sector contributes approximately 3% of U.S. GDP. Therefore, as Italian Trade Agency, we intend to continue promoting and increasing the “Made in Italy” in the United States through the Franchising channel, with an increasingly qualified and diversified offer and access to new opportunities offered by Italian formats, as we believe this is a channel that will certainly contribute to the strengthening of the trade positions Italy has already acquired in the US market.
What is the added value that the Made in Italy can bring to the American franchise industry?
Good opportunities exist for many sectors of the Made in Italy, both for the sale of services and products. Italy can certainly provide an added value in the sectors for which it has been traditionally known: lifestyle products and services such as food, fashion, and personal consumer products in general, where the Italian know-how, quality, craftsmanship are well appreciated.
How the Italian Trade Agency can support the American investors?
The Italian Trade Agency, and the New York office, in collaboration with the Italian Franchise Associations, can support US investors interested in Italian formats to franchise in the US by identifying potential opportunities in Italy and facilitating contacts. We also can help US investors through our Foreign Direct Investment Desks. The Italian Trade Agency recently established a worldwide network of 9 Foreign Direct Investment Desks staffed with professionals. In the U.S. we are present with 2 Desks, in New York and San Francisco. One of the team’s objectives is to identify companies that are considering either expanding their existing facilities in Italy or looking towards Europe to expand their internationalization process with Italy as a possible destination point. We provide information and preliminary advice on issues relating to government incentives available, localization opportunities, business regulations and procedures, tax issues, job and immigration issues, through an interaction with relevant government institutions both at central level and at local level. We ensure that investors and corporations meet with the appropriate representatives in our country, and we facilitate the organization of meetings with the decision-making authorities for them to present their business plans. Our FDI Desks are always looking for U.S. investors interested in committing capital in Italy. The Italian Trade Agency’s FDI Unit is structured to streamline the entry process and to optimize any investment opportunity by ensuring that any available government incentive is rightfully granted to companies establishing sound business environments.
Fonte: a cura della Redazione di Exportiamo, email@example.com
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