NEW TRADE ROUTES AND GLOBAL NETWORKS AS THE NEXT FRONTIER OF INTERNATIONALIZATION OPPORTUNITIES
by Elvio Bordignon
and Margherita Chiara Immordino Tedesco
The 28th World Convention of the 79 Italian Chambers of Commerce Abroad, present in 56 countries, was held in Veneto (Venice, Padua, Treviso). The occasion allowed to meet the promotion subjects active in Italy to reflect together on common internationalization strategies aimed at small and medium Italian companies. Presidents, Secretaries General, Business Developers, Entrepreneurs and Managers gathered around a single large discussion table to take stock of the situation and draw up a balance sheet at the end of the decade, but at the same time make concrete proposals to address the important changes that have now begun.
Changes that will mainly concern technology, the Internet (artificial intelligence, blockchain, big data, crypto currencies, the Internet of things, etc.), the environment (sustainability, climate) with particular attention to work and the phenomenon of immigration. It was also possible to meet the delegates through B2B meetings and seminars to strengthen the relationship with specific activities of approach.
In this respect, Made in Italy seems to be facing a phase of renewal because it is exploring new trade routes that create expectations but also pitfalls and therefore everything must be approached with caution and seeking new systems and methods of communication. During the meeting some specific directives emerged, such as defending the European market, investing in the growth of Africa, increasing our direct presence in the USA and Latin America and seizing the opportunity of the Silk Road in China and Asia. Made in Italy has proved to be a real value chain on the final markets, but this is no longer enough, so it will be necessary to strengthen the growth constraint of fixed factors such as land and work, to understand whether it is more convenient to continue to sell products again or to move on to knowledge (the case of licensing) and finally the importance of feeding the source code of Italian spirit as a real core business and engine.
At the end of the first session, a third block dealt with issues such as exclusivity and inclusivity as sides of the same coin. We tried to understand if Made in Italy can only focus on elitist markets, or should also simultaneously focus on the mass market of emerging countries that offer both possibilities. In this regard, it was strongly suggested to invest more and more courageously in creativity, technology, vision to regenerate the knowledge of the territories that are changing very quickly.
The second session, on the other hand, dealt in particular with the new globalisation under way. Unpublished scenarios are upsetting the world and so there has been talk of forms of neo-protectionism (see tariffs) that are causing trade re-equilibria to the tune of technological competition, policies of import substitution but also strong reactions to growth due to internal inequalities in countries (even in Italy) increasingly evident. Every company, together with the Chamber of Foreign Commerce, will have to face increasingly complex and rapidly changing problems. Business models are therefore under the watchful eye of institutions, scholars and managers because it is not easy to adapt a production process to such unpredictable changes. The proposed solution has been to move more and more from the assembly line to the value chain through, for example, the overcoming of tariff barriers, market seeking strategies in the richest and most dynamic economies, resource seeking strategies in the most complex economies, but also to study hybrid forms that allow factors to be interchanged according to the problem or opportunity that arises. Finally, the 4.0 industry has also been treated as an input for all, on which to insist more strongly.
In this regard, three points were addressed: automation and integrated robotics, additive manufacturing and the vision that goes towards the completion of the first industrial revolution with the separation of workspace and worker of course that vision does not necessarily mean the final solution. In fact, these are delicate issues that are still open and the 28th international meeting wanted to highlight them all so that each of the participants could receive the same message. It is also clear that each Chamber of Commerce will naturally have to set the work according to its territory and country of origin, but equally the ideas and challenges presented have called everyone to full cooperation with the important goal of creating a stronger synergy that speaks of the new Made in Italy in unison.
Alessandro Benetton also took part in the convention, remarking his attention on the sport-enterprise pair as a driving force to bring foreign countries closer to Italy. The event of the Winter Olympics Milan-Cortina scheduled for 2026 (but also the various UNESCO sites including the new site of the lands of Prosecco) is currently the most important example and could be used as a test bed to find a different but perfect trade route for a country with huge potential as Italy. Finally, I also applaud the entry of the newly created Italian Chamber of Commerce in Mozambique by its President, Dr. Simone Santi, as a firm will to continue to grow.