We sat down with the Italian Ambassador and the Italian Trade Agency’s Trade Commissioner Dr Samuele Porsia for exclusive insight into the affair at hand.
His Excellence Cristiano Maggipinto, the Ambassador of Italy in Kuala Lumpur first came to embrace his diplomatic career in 1989. He served with the General Directorate for Economic Affairs dealing with market economy nations and European internal affairs. In the presence of H.E Cristiano Maggipinto , the Italian Trade Agency, Global Pacific Victory (M) Sdn Bhd (GPV), and Euro-Atlantic Sdn Bhd (EA) , an esteemed signing ceremony of the Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) marked the beginning of the Week of Authentic Italian Food Excellence.
Pictured above (left to right) : Daniel Teng of Jaya Grocer, Eric Goh Executive Director of Euro-Atlantic, His Excellence Italian Ambassador Cristiano Maggipinto, Teng Yew Huat Managing Director of Jaya Grocer, Pietro Tombaccini Deputy Head of Mission, Alex Liew Managing Director of Global Pacific, Dr Samuele Porsia Trade Commissioner of the ITA & Ebby Loo Managing Director of Euro-Atlantic.
Sevenpie gained exclusive access to the prestigious event and we’re now here to give you the insider’s perspective.
Pictured above (left to right) : Alex Liew Managing Director of Global Pacific, His Excellence Italian Ambassador Cristiano Maggipinto, Dr Samuele Porsia Trade Commissioner of the ITA & Ebby Loo Managing Director of Euro-Atlantic.
Interview with His Excellency Cristiano Maggipinto
Sevenpie : Can you give us an idea of the types of trade between Malaysia and Italy?
H.E Cristiano Maggipinto : Trade between Italy and Malaysia is essentially industrial machinery, aerospace items, items connected with oil and gas, electronics and food for the moment.
Sevenpie : Can you give us a brief overview of what the Italian Embassy hopes to achieve in Malaysia in terms of trade? Just insight into what Malaysians can expect down the road in terms of Italian products. Anything new we should look out for?
H.E Cristiano Maggipinto : We would like to have an increase of trade and more Italian products in Malaysia. We would also like to have more Malaysian products in Italy as the exchange should be mutually beneficial. At the same time, we would like to see an increase in direct investment in corporations of different fields like food as well as technology. I think that Italy can propose a lot of technologies that Malaysia can use in a good way in order to improve certain kinds of services in this country and so it’s also a matter of cooperation.
Sevenpie : What attracts Italian corporations to Malaysia? What is it about the economic landscape here that fosters Italian investment? Why trade with Malaysia?
H.E Cristiano Maggipinto : I think that Malaysia is an attractive country for many different reasons. First of all, I would say that doing business here in Malaysia is quite easy. In terms of international classification, Malaysia is one of the top 15 out of 25 countries in terms of the ease of doing business. Secondly, Malaysia is geographically located in the center of the ASEAN region. Thirdly, almost everybody in Malaysia can speak English so this is a great help as it is much easier communicating in English for Italian companies. The workforce in Malaysia is also skilled. The quality of life matches the prices in Malaysia as well.
Sevenpie : What is your upcoming 6 month plan that we should look forward to in Malaysia?
H.E Cristiano Maggipinto : We have a lot of activities programmed for Malaysia in the next six months, both from an economic and cultural point of view. For example, there is hopefully the participation of Italy in the DAC 2020. There is also a very important event which will happen in the beginning of July which is the High-Level Economic Dialogue between Italy and ASEAN countries, taking place in Kuala Lumpur with the presence of around 200 CEOs of main Italian companies. They will come to Malaysia to take note of the business opportunities here and the possibilities of cooperation between Italy and Malaysia. We will also be organizing a very important cultural event which is an exhibition held with the National Gallery of Art. This is an exhibition about what we know as Arte Povera which was one of the most important trends of Italian art in the 60s and it will be the first time this art is shown in Malaysia.
Interview with Dr Samuele Porsia, ITA’s Trade Commissioner
Sevenpie : Can you give us insight into the purpose of the Italian Trade Agency in Malaysia?
Dr Samuele Porsia : So our main goal here is to boost Italian exports and to increase the investments inwards and outwards both countries, Italy and Malaysia. We are here also to convince Italian companies to invest in Malaysia and use Malaysia as a manufacturing and trading hub as well as a gateway to Asian countries.
Sevenpie : What differentiates trade in Malaysia from trade in other ASEAN countries in your opinion?
Dr Samuele Porsia : Malaysia is one of the main liberal economies in Southeast Asia after Singapore and this is a big adding of value for Malaysia.
Sevenpie : In your opinion, do you think that Italian products are easily assimilated into local Malaysian culture?
Dr Samuele Porsia : It’s something that we’re working on because we are facing a lot of problems with Italian counterfeit products in Malaysia. So for the following years our main role is to educate local customers on true Italian products and to create awareness of the “Made in Italy” notion. It’s something we’re working towards, not only in terms of the food sector but in all the consumer goods – furniture, cars, anything related to consumer goods.
Sevenpie : If you could choose to bring back to Italy anything from Malaysia, what would it be?
Dr Samuele Porsia : There are a lot of things that we like from Malaysia. For example, the tropical fruits and palm oil. We also appreciate outdoor furniture as well as bath related furniture. We would also like to import future products related to oil and gas as well as plastic. Malaysia is an important manufacturer of plastic. We do import mainly palm oil at the moment but we do hope to diversify.
This initiative aims to promote and raise awareness for authentic Italian products in Malaysian markets via the notion of “Eat healthy, Taste Italy”. This campaign is set to launch on the 7th of April 2020 followed by a roadshow from the 6th of April to the 19th of April 2020.
Are you excited about true, authentic Italian food? Did you learn more about the ITA’s initiative via this interview? Let us know in the comment section below!
Header Image : ITA