Allegrini 2018

Training, technology and Italian culture are ICE strategies to grow abroad

Carlo Ferro, president of ICE said, “in China the focus is on digital communication, in the US our goal is 1.000 experts in three years”
Carlo Ferro, president of ICE

The wine sector is in good health, and is boasting a turnover of nearly 15 billion euros, which 310.000 companies have generated, while exports have reached 6.2 billion euros. This is where the growth is; that is, between established markets and emerging economies. This is where Italian wine is seeking a common as well as a shared strategy to be competitive, under the direction of ICE, the Agency for promotion abroad and the internationalization of Italian companies. ICE is part of the Ministry of Economic Development, led by Carlo Ferro, the new president elected just a few months ago, who during Vinitaly in Verona told WineNews about the role ICE will play in the future of the internationalization of Italian wine. He said that starting from exports, which are the “opportunity and driving force of the Italian economy, for which we must work hard to stimulate growth by bringing more companies abroad, using the logic of continuous improvement, especially the small and medium-sized ones, which are less equipped for internationalization. We must always set ourselves new goals to make the export quota grow even more, also in the wine sector. We must also take into consideration that in terms of overall market share, as well as average selling price, Italy still has to climb up quite a few positions compared to other countries”.
Along this path, we must not lose sight of any of the possibilities the markets offer, because, Ferro continued, "between consolidated and emerging markets, it would be better to exploit both opportunities. Objectively, there is no conflict between the two opportunities. Diversification is important, but growing in the US is equally important, since 67% of the wine we export overseas ends up in just five US states. Emerging countries represent an important opportunity, especially China, where exports are just over 2% of the total export of Italian wine. We need to make our product more widely known and appreciated, especially because the Chinese high class”, emphasized the president of the ICE, “loves the Italian lifestyle, and knows our food and our wine. In the Asia area, We are trying to seize growth opportunities of economies that travel much faster than the average”.
In Asia, but not only, international agreements regarding reducing, or eliminating duties could play an important role, on the usefulness of which “there are important examples relating to the boost they can give to exports; I am thinking of Australia and China. ICE, in this sense, is making an effort to accompany and communicate through promotional activities on distribution, to allow Italian professionals, including the wine sector, to seize this opportunity”.
Among Ice’s supporting activities in the wine sector, explained Ferro, “there are system actions and specific actions. The former are extremely important, since in the end wine is a product of culture, territory and passion; therefore, exporting the country system is equally important, Foreign buyers at Vinitaly with ICE will spend an hour with me and ENIT to speak not of wine but of Italy, its beauties, its economic and financial system, so as to create a positive image of the country-system. Then”, continues the president of Ice, “there are specific actions regarding wine, which are in the direction of training. For instance, in the USA the goal is to have a total of 1.000 new Italian wine experts on the territory in the next 3 years. In China, instead, the focus is on digital communication systems and platforms, and then a great deal of attention, in China, is paid to the large-scale retail trade, while in the US the large restaurant chains are targeted. In general”, concluded Carlo Ferro, “we want to help Italian wine to use technology to stand out and differentiate itself, avoid the risks of counterfeiting; therefore, at ICE we will soon start supporting actions to use block chain technologies for the traceability of Made in Italy wine”.

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