Together with Economics Minister Heiko Maas, a delegation of gwSaar Saarland Economic Promotion Corporation had – from March 20-23 – travelled to Vicenza which is approximately 60 km northwest of Venice . The purpose of the trip had been to showcase and promote the business location Saarland.
Economics Minister Heiko Maas: `Italy is an important trading partner of Saarland. Besides the concrete attraction of new businesses to Saarland, the trip was meant both to develop long-term cooperations and to sustainably position Saarland in the awareness of major multipliers.`
In 2011, Saarland´s trade volume with Italy elevated at about 1.8 billion euros. Imports amounting to 600 million euros faced an export volume of approximately 1.2 billion euros. With a share of 60 %, the automotive branch has been the main export branch. Vice versa, it is mainly automotive components that are imported from italy.
Several encounters with companies of the Veneto region were `insightful and very promising`, said Thomas Schuck, Managing Director of gwSaar. `And also our unconventional way of presentation had played its part in this. That we did not only point out the strongpoints of the business location but also included our region´s cultural diversity into the trip has opened additional doors for us`, Schuck continued.
To promote the location, the Saarland delegation had used the proven instruments of company visits and investor events. This also included exploratory talks with the regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry and industrial associations alike. The visited companies belong to the most different branches: automotive suppliers and logistics companies coinciding with the automotive and logistics location Saarland, chemistry, design, metal processing for the arts and crafts sector, electronics, photovoltaics, marble, food industry – all of them florishing SMEs as are typical for Northern Italy. All of them are looking for new ways of distribution given a stagnating Italian market, state-sponsored financial assistance programs that scarcely exist any more, and a high value-added tax. These are facts inducing some companies to consider activities abroad, and also in Saarland. Arguments speaking for the location Saarland, so the tenor of the conversations, are Saarland´s strong industrial branches, short ways in administration and the central geographical position in Europe.
However, the delegation did not only want to provide `hard` facts but also gave an impression of the special way of life and cultural diversity in Saarland – the so-called `soft` factors. This was accomplished by magician Markus Lenzen and his presentation `Enchanting Saarland` as well as the guest performance of the ballet of the Saarländisches Staatstheater by Marguerite Donlon. The Italian audience was visibly enthousiastic.