First cross border mission to Italy and Slovenia
From the 8th to the 12th of December 2019, the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce and its Enterprise Europe Network, in collaboration with the Embassies of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to Italy and Slovenia, the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg and the Luxembourg Slovenian Business Club, organized an economic cross border mission to Italy and Slovenia.
The mission started in Trieste, capital of the region Friuli Venezia Giulia. A first visit was paid to Illycaffè, the famous Italian coffee roasting company specialized in the production of espresso. The company, founded in 1933 by Francesco Illy with the vision of producing the best coffee nature can provide, produces only one blend in three roast variations. Illycaffè purchases most of its green coffee directly from local farmers who have the possibility to be trained at Illy’s University of Coffee open also to public.
The Black Gold arrives by ship at the Trieste seaport, an important trade hub with significant commercial shipping business, busy container and oil terminals, and steel works. As explained by the port authority to the delegation, Trieste is also the first port for rail traffic and very well connected to Bettembourg as 12 combined shuttle trains are running between the two cities. Last June a further step has been taken by the signing of an MoU with CFL Cargo to develop container business.
To pave the way for further business relations, a business forum was organized with the support of the Chamber of Commerce of Friuli Venezia Giulia. The President, Antonio Paoletti, underlined the aim of strengthening bilateral ties between the two chambers and exploring new potentialities. H.E. Mr Paul Dühr, Ambassador of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to Italy, illustrated the importance of the bilateral relations between the two countries in the external trade balance, where Italy ranks #6 in terms of import and export.
The second day began with a visit of Elettra, a multidisciplinary international center of research, specialized in synchrotron and free electron laser light for materials and life science. Synchrotron light can be as much as 100 billion times brighter than the Sun. Therefore, it is possible to study and analyze samples at a level of detail only reachable with sources of this type. Elettra is hosting more than 1000 researchers per year and has been serving 100 companies.
Arrived in Slovenia, the delegation visited the company Pockaj well-known for its fast-growing gaming brand Alfastreet. Apart from gaming instruments, Alfastreet Marine prides itself upon boutique boat production whereas Alfastreet Woodtech has recently started offering furniture to the international market.
The following day, a seminar, dedicated on the presentation of the assets of the Luxembourg economy took place in Ljubljana at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia. Some 30 local companies came to assess the potential of the Luxembourg economy for their business. Considering Slovenia as an important politically likeminded partner, H.E. Marc Ungeheuer, Ambassador of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to Slovenia, stressed that it is time to also deepen trade relations. A lot of similarities exist between the two countries: as a small country Slovenia’s economy is export-oriented, open to foreign investment and strongly favors open internal borders. Luxembourg is the second largest foreign investor in Slovenia, but bilateral trade is still weak. To progress on the trade side and to explore how to achieve this was the theme of the presentation given by Edith Stein of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce. And there are sectors in which the two countries could partner up: ICT, space, healthtech, automotive and a more intense cooperation between research institutions. Edith Stein also highlighted the international business-friendly environment as well as on the research and knowledge-based economic diversification strategy pursued by the Luxembourg government.
After the B2B meetings, the program of the afternoon included a visit the Jožef Stefan Institute, the leading Slovenian scientific research institute, covering a broad spectrum of basic applied research in the field of robotics, computer tech, ecotech, biotech, new materials and nanotechnologies.
The visit to BTC Digit concluded the economic program in Ljubljana. BTC Digit is an innovative Business Ecosystem – a living lab and literally a city within a city focused on business digitalization featuring bitcoin operations, testing 5G technology, shared mobility and autonomous vehicles
The Luxembourg delegation was impressed by the high level of innovation of the Italian and Slovene economy. Fruitful business discussions ended up in further meetings planned either in Italy, Slovenia or Luxembourg, presumably evolving towards concrete and sustainable partnership bonds.