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CLASS

Apulia is organizing the Jonica SEZ by looking at the Belt&Road

July 23, 2020


Abstract : The Special Economic Zone, which is extending also in Basilicata, mainly aims at building a hub for the exchanges with the Far East and China in particular, by focusing on its strategic position.

MILAN, July 22 (Class Editori) – The assessor for Economic Development of the Apulia region- Mino Borracino- is putting pressure on the Central Government by particularly involving the Prime Minister- Giuseppe Conte- and the Minister for South Italy- Giuseppe Provenzano-, in order to urge for procedures aimed at immediately activating the Jonica SEZ, a strategic initiative for both the two southern regions which may open a new development phase and promote recovery.

The Steering committee of the JonicaSEZ took office in Novemberand, among its tasks, has to manage, coordinate and define the initiative strategies, apart from promoting it in Italy and abroad in order to attract both national and international investors. However, the new Special Economic Zone has not taken off yet.

The potential Chinese investors, which have been already contacted, are waiting for concrete developments. One of the Special Economic Zone goal is intercepting Beijing interest because it will be able to contribute to strengthening the logistic platforms’ role, which are useful for the huge project of the new SilkRoad, as it was underlined in a session dedicated to theBelt&Road in Bari, last September, promoted by Class Editori and Banco Popolare di Puglia e Basilicata.

The JonicaSEZ might be the third one in South Italy to cross the finish line after those of Campania and Calabria. The Steering Committee, which has to make it operational, is chaired by the reference port Authority and attended by a delegate for each Region, one for the Presidency of the Council and one for the Minister of Infrastructures and Transport.

The benefits for the companies already present or which will be present in the interested area, which covers the surface of 1,500 square km and includes the port area of Taranto, the Grottaglie hub, Melfi, FerrandinaandGaldo di Lauria, are significant.

They will benefit from administrative simplifications and tax benefits provided for by the Mezzogiorno decree (dedicated to South Italy), among which a tax credit on the investments made until December 31, 2020, with a maximum limit of €50 million for each project.

“Some aspects are still to be clarified, for example the role the Steering Committee will play in order to verify the start of the economic activities plan of each enterprise located in the area. Moreover, the timings granted to the Committee in order to state the boundaries of the customs free zones seem to be too tight”, the assessor Borraccino has explained.

Some bureaucratic problems have to be solved: apparently, they are not so important, but they could delay the achievement of the goals of the Jonica SEZ. Apart from attracting Chinese investments in the context of the Belt and Road, it is also useful to enhance Italian excellences in the scientific and innovation sectors and to ensure the strengthening of small and medium-sized enterprises, by supporting them during internationalization processes.

The strategic goal of SEZs in Italy is boosting South Italy to become one of the largest logistics hubs in the Mediterranean area, in order to foster trades with emerging economies of the Middle East and North Africa. South Italy currently has an interchange with the countries of the MENA area worth about €14 billion, almost 20% of the Italian exports towards this area in overall.

According to insiders, a simplified regulation is needed, as well as a real support at a national level and a higher coordination with the European targets, so that Special Economic Zones will be able to develop their full potential in terms of relaunch.

(Source:Class Editori)

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