On Key4Biz: ‘A systemic defense of Made in Italy is necessary’. Interview with Mario Ciofalo (Tiesse)

Appeal to the Government by Mario Ciofalo, Chairman of Tiesse: ‘Politicians should do more to promote Made in Italy both in Italy and abroad, it is necessary to help SMEs grow and become .

by Paolo Anastasio | 11 July 2017, time 10:45

“A systemic defense is necessary, firstly of our Italian and then European companies. Everyone is doing it, despite the international agreements, starting with Trump, who won the election with the slogan “America first”, not to mention China”. So says Mario Ciofalo, Chairman of Tiesse, the Ivrea-based  company specialising in routers and M2M devices entirely Made in Italy for the gaming, smart grid and security markets. Tiesse is committed to exporting its products to China and the United States, despite the strong barriers to entry that characterise the global market.

Key4biz. Mr. Chairman, is too much protectionism hindering the internationalisation of our companies?

Mario Ciofalo. Certainly Italian companies like Tiesse have no easy life abroad. Suffice it to say that Italy’s exports to China in 2016 amounted to 11.07 billion euros, while the value of imports reached 27.08 billion. China has invaded our markets but it does not allow theirs to be entered, especially on innovative technologies. We know something about this here in Tiesse, given that we are trying to take our Made in Italy technology to the Asian country, but with great difficulty. Much like what we encounter in America.

Key4biz. Should our politicians do more for Made in Italy?

Mario Ciofalo. To be honest, some progress has been made. For example, the indication of the country of origin on foodstuffs, fought for with determination by Minister Martina. The funding of innovative companies, linked to the number of graduates dedicated to Research and Development, the recent provisions concerning Industry 4.0 and some other targeted interventions have been made.

Key4biz. But is it enough?

Mario Ciofalo. We need a broader and more committed policy for industrial development in Italy and Europe. We need more determination and greater confidence in our capabilities, as Matteo Renzi says, but more systematically and concretely to achieve the result, especially at the international level.

Key4biz. What is the situation regarding the economic scenario in our country?

Mario Ciofalo.  We have a great industry, but which has weakened over the years. A systemic effort is required to make our country globally competitive again. Tiesse is doing its bit, like other Italian companies, as TIM’s adoption of our routers for video surveillance at the recent G7 that was held in Taormina in Italy demonstrates. But we need to do more to help the many SMEs in our country that want to undertake an internationalisation process, first of all by supporting them in Italy.

Key4biz. How?

Mario Ciofalo.  We must leverage our strengths and minimise the weaknesses. The bulk of our economy and exports are based on SMEs, which should not be considered as an Achilles heel, but as a strength of our production system. We must help them grow and become a system to compete firstly in Italy and then on the global market. We need massive injections of digital to overcome the gap that separates us from the rest of the world and to seize business opportunities that are within our reach. All we need is to want it and to pursue our goals with tenacity and dedication.

Key4biz. What are the prospects for the future?

Mario Ciofalo. We must not close ourselves within our shell because market liberalisation is right and we need it because, for example, it can help us find new sources of business for our Made in Italy abroad, via the e-Commerce of SMEs. But we cannot afford to lower our guard, and we must demand in practice, as the EU’s Antitrust is doing with regard to the US Networking giants, equality of rights and opportunities with everyone and by everyone.   

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