The Italian SystemWed, 02/21/2018 - 18:26
As Mexico’s third-most important trade partner in the EU and 11th globally, Italy works closely with the Mexican authorities in the energy sector, a collaboration that Italy’s Ambassador to Mexico Luigi Maccotta says is necessary to clear any potential hurdles. “The cooperation relies on joint actions that will facilitate the dialogue between public and private entities to ensure that technology and investment challenges can be overcome,” he says.
Maccotta underlines that both countries have specific bilateral cooperation agreements in the energy sector. For instance, the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Italy's President Sergio Matterella and President Enrique Peña Nieto in 2016 laid the foundation for programs and activities that promote the implementation of low-carbon technologies in areas such as energy production through renewables, energy efficiency, smart grids and energy storage.
Although Mexico has always been of great interest as an investment destination for Italian companies, the Energy Reform was a turning point that made the country even more attractive, Maccotta says. “The reform has definitely attracted a strong and dynamic participation from Italian companies in the energy sector, both in the renewables and oil and gas sectors,” he says. To support Italian business in this industry, the Italian Embassy maintains a close relationship with the Ministry of Energy to have a privileged access and communication channel. “Enel Green Power and ENI, among other Italian companies, are investing in Mexico’s infrastructure and providing the basis for industry
development and growth,” says Maccotta. “They commit to social responsibility and act responsibly within the local communities where they work.” In addition to diplomatic duties, the Italian Embassy aids the presence and operations of Italian companies in Mexico. “We are facilitators, but the real work is done by the companies,” Maccotta says. “They present business development plans and technically and economically sound proposals to Mexican industries and the government.” The role of the Embassy in this process is to guide these companies to the doors they need to knock on to ease their business development processes, according to Maccotta. In the energy sector specifically, the Embassy remains in close contact with the Ministry of Energy to identify areas for joint work.
“The Italian government relies on the so-called Italian system to offer extra support to Italian companies,” says Maccotta. “In Mexico, the Embassy, the Italian Trade Commission (ICE), the Italian Chamber of Commerce and SACE, the Italian Export Credit Agency owned by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, are integrated into the system.” He underlines the crucial role that SACE plays as an Italian institution that offers a wide range of insurance and financial products to companies with a strong link to Italy. For example, if a Mexican company wants to import Italian products or services, it can get insurance through SACE.
Mexico’s geographical position makes it an attractive country for Italian companies to invest in as it acts as a bridge for logistics operations and products and is a direct channel to North and South America, says Maccotta. Among other factors that make Mexico attractive, he enumerates the country’s highly valuable and competitive human capital and a growing middle class that provides strong market volume.
As the next presidential elections approach in Mexico, Maccotta remains confident about the future. “The country’s economic and political stability is outstanding,” he says. “Companies trust that everything that was built during the reform will be preserved and Mexico’s vision and plans will continue in that direction.”