Sat, Mar 09, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Italy offers more than fashion, food and fast cars, new representative says

Staff writer, with CNA

New Italian Representative to Taiwan Davide Giglio speaks during an interview with the Central News Agency on Wednesday.

Photo: CNA

New Italian Representative to Taiwan Davide Giglio said that he aims to present a more diversified image of his country to let Taiwanese know that Italy has more to offer than fashion, food and race cars.

Italy is known for its fashion industry, tourism attractions, delicious cuisine and sports cars, said Giglio, Minister Plenipotentiary at the Italian Economic, Trade and Cultural Promotion Office in Taipei.

That makes his job easier in Taiwan, as “the name is already out there,” Giglio said in an interview on Wednesday.

The challenge lies in how to enlarge this perception to make other aspects of Italy better known to Taiwanese, he said.

The European nation is also internationally acclaimed for its machinery, manufacturing, electronic components and textile industries, he said.

“Italy is the third-largest economy in the European Union. After Brexit, Italy, France and Germany will be the most important countries in the EU,” he said.

He said that since assuming office in January, he has been trying to build more connections between Italy and Taiwan.

Most Italians have a limited understanding of Taiwan, even though the two sides maintain robust trade and economic relations, he said.

Taiwan is one of the world’s leading economies and an important partner for Italy in terms of trade and investment, he said.

“I think Italy should get a better knowledge about what Taiwan can offer and Taiwan can also get a better picture of what Italy can provide,” he added.

Giglio said that Taiwanese companies have mostly invested in Italy’s machinery sector, but he sees other opportunities for cooperation in electronic parts, components and automobile products.

Italy was Taiwan’s 22nd-largest trade partner last year, with two-way trade volume reaching US$5.1 billion, Bureau of Foreign Trade data showed.

Giglio said he is impressed by the openness of Taiwanese society, as well as its vibrant democracy, and freedom of the press and religion — values that he said Italy and Taiwan share.

Before being posted to Taiwan, the 52-year-old diplomat served in East Asia for many years, including during postings to Hong Kong (2001-2005), Osaka (2007-2011) and Beijing (2011-2015).

He said he originally studied German and Russian and had little interest in East Asia before he joined the foreign service.

However, after being posted in Asia for several years, he developed a keen interest in the region’s cultures. Giglio said.

“The more I learn about the area, the more I realize I really have to be humble as I approach this culture,” he said.

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