Interview to Managing Director Mr. Simone Crolla
by Ivan De Stefano
How long have you been working as Managing Director for the American Chamber of Commerce in Italy?
I have been serving as Managing Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Italy since January 2009 with the scope of redesigning the mission of AmCham, which has suffered an economic crisis and a lack of competitive positioning in the world associations.
AmCham Italy was founded in 1915 and is celebrating its hundredth anniversary – Can you tell us about the organization?
AmCham Italy has three main functions: to organize networking events and conferences for its members, to develop advocacy activities through committees and working groups, which are think tank focused on elaborating policy papers on topics of interest for our members. Finally, we provide consulting services to small and medium Italian companies which have the ambition to invest in the USA and to find the right American business partner.
What are the current investment opportunities in the USA for Italian companies? Which are the most attractive industries?
Italian FDI flows account for 22 billion euro (Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis). Italy is the tenth European investor in the United States and since 2003 Italian investments have strikingly increased. The USA is a great country for investment opportunities, thanks for the growing American economy, competitiveness on energy and incentives programs to attract investments. The most attractive industries are the mechanical and the food one.
What is the perception of Italy in the USA in terms of investments?
We can find the answer to this question on the Investment Climate Statement, published on the website of the USA Department.
As shown in the report, the United States have mistrust of Italy, because of our fiscal system and bureaucracy. If we solve these problems, we can attract foreign investments. We can come to that conclusion even on checking the international rankings (Doing Business, Global Competitiveness Report, etc.). Italy is considered an “unpredictable” country and uncertainty is definitely an enemy of investments.
Could you talk about the business missions you plan to the USA?
We usually organize two institutional business missions in the USA – and usually we have participants who want to arrange business meetings with companies in order to find the right American partner. Finally, we can organize on request ad hoc missions in the USA, focused on a specific industry.
What is the aim of Italy and USA meetings arranged by the Chamber?
The meetings we organize with the US Institutional representatives – such as ambassadors or other members – are helpful on connecting our members to the American business people and able to close a deal. They said we are facilitators – able to reach great results.
What are the benefits AmCham can give to an Italian company who wants to become a member?
A member of AmCham can benefit of all services previously described, with the opportunity to access to an institutional and business network and have a clear picture of the US market. There are companies interested in becoming members to be part of our Committees and Working Groups; others want to have a support on business and other instead want to just be part of our network with 500 members and more than 3,000 contacts. We are able to cover all needs and this is the reason why our members are content of our work.
Finally, what is the legacy of Expo 2015 in the USA, in terms of public and cultural relations?
Expo has never been that much well known in the USA as it is considered a big Trade Fair. Our aim is to reinforce the Expo brand and explain the American entrepreneurs the business opportunities related to Expo. This exposition should be perceived as a business platform, able to offer visibility to the companies and create a very strong international network. Finally, with Expo, the United States had the chance to explain to the whole world their idea of food security, debunking the notion of junk food. With this path, the USA will be more attractive – as it is shown on the numbers of visitors of the USA pavilion, the most visited of all.
Translation by Silvia Rizzo
Advocacy & Policy Officer
American Chamber of Commerce in Italy