Forging strong ties: the ICCIUK and IOE&IT pledge to support international trade in memorandum of understanding

The Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the UK (ICCIUK) and the Institute of Export and International Trade (IOE&IT) have today, 18 September, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), in a commitment to jointly support trading activities beyond Italy and the UK.

ICCIUK President Alessandro Belluzzo and IOE&IT Director General, Marco Forgione signed the agreement at the Chamber’s London office.

Alessandro Belluzzo said: “I am thrilled to sign this Memorandum of Understanding with the Institute of Export and International Trade.

“This MoU is not just a signature, it’s a commitment to the growth and success of our members and to the enduring collaboration between countries.”

Speaking at the signing of the MOU, Forgione added that Italy remains a vital trade partner for the UK and helping to facilitate trade between the two nations was important to both organisations.

“I’m excited to see how we can work together to support businesses in both countries that want to trade overcome any challenges and obstacles they face.”

Inter-organisational cooperation

The ICCIUK, which counts Lavazza and Ferrari among its members, promotes trade between Italian and UK businesses and provides legal and strategic guidance to Italian businesses looking to break into the UK market and thrive internationally.

Alongside IOE&IT, it will deliver support to businesses as they continue to navigate the changing regulatory landscape.

This could include collaboration on the development of training materials and qualifications to get businesses up to speed on new customs checks and procedures, such as the introduction of the Border Target Operating Model (BTOM) in January.

“We are opening doors to a world of opportunities for our members,” Belluzzo said, “this agreement will facilitate knowledge exchange, encourage training, and offer additional support to companies interested in expanding beyond Italy and the UK.

“We firmly believe that by working hand in hand, we can empower businesses to thrive in the ever-evolving landscape of international trade.”

Initiatives on a range of topics, including sustainable trade, international trade policy and compliance have been discussed as other potential joint ventures.

Strengthening ties

The agreement mirrors the MoU on bilateral cooperation signed by the UK and Italian governments at the end of April.

Both countries expressed their commitment to supporting Ukraine, climate targets, supply chain security and modernising their economies.

This also followed the signing of a free trade deal in February, the first the UK signed with an EU nation post-Brexit.

Brexit hurdles

Plans for coordinated support from two expert organisations should prove welcome news to many businesses.

The past three years have been tumultuous for Italian exporters, with many struggling to adapt to the new administrative requirements arising from Brexit.

The Financial Times reported that many considered regulatory changes a significant challenge, with navigating new administrative processes taking up a substantial amount of time.

Fabrizio Botti, an economist at the Istituto Affari Internazionali, suggested complications arising from these new requirements were partially responsible for the delay in UK-Italy trade reaching pre-pandemic levels.

Trade figures

However, trade figures have now bounced back, with mutual trade above 2019 levels.

The Department for Business and Trade found that, in the year up to March 2023, UK-Italy trade was valued at £47.4bn, an increase of 21.1% on the previous year.

The UK substantially increased imports from Italy over this period, up 28.3% to £30.9bn. UK exports to Italy also increased by 9.7%, reaching £16.5bn.

This makes Italy the UK’s 11th largest trading partner, totalling 2.7% of the UK’s trade. While the UK is Italy’s sixth largest export market.