WELLINGTON: Italy’s ambassador to New Zealand says some of the best coffee in the world can be found in Wellington, which was not his experience when he last visited as a tourist 15 years ago. Fabrizio Marcelli said this evolution showed how far New Zealand had come, and was part of the reason why there has been a recent push to boost trade with Italy.
As a result, the Italian Embassy organised the first Made In Italy trade expo, which showcased 14 companies in Auckland on Tuesday. Marcelli said two-way trade between New Zealand and Italy was worth more than $1 billion a year.
But Italy was just New Zealand’s fifth largest trade partner in Europe, and Italy’s exports to New Zealand were less than 1 per cent of its total exports.
“So Italian companies are interested in setting up shop here because it’s still a quite virgin market for Italian exporters.”
In November, Trade Minister Todd McClay and Italian Deputy Minister for Economic Development Ivan Scalfarotto committed to doubling two-way trade between the countries. Trade between the countries included machinery, hides and wool, food and beverage, and technology.
Marcelli said the trade expo was therefore set up to test the waters and see if there was interest in increasing the trade relations. “I came as a tourist 15 years ago to New Zealand and now that I’m back… the country has evolved.
“Let’s take for instance Wellington, now you can taste one of the best coffees in the world in Wellington, which was not the case 15 years ago.
“For an Italian it was a disaster… which is not the case anymore, so there is an opportunity for Italian products.” Exhibitors at the expo represented the food, automotive, building material and architectural services industries.
One of those was Segafredo Zanetti, the local arm of the Massimo Zanetti Beverage Group coffee company. Segafredo Zanetti New Zealand director Mario Archidiacono said the company had come to the New Zealand market in 2014 after buying another brand.