• news-EMEA-ItalyMatters-2Whirlpool’s new EMEA headquarters in Pero, in the former Expo office building
  • Esther Berrozpe Galindo, President Whirlpool EMEA: “Italy at the center of our development strategy in the EMEA region
  • Investments of 500 million euros by the end of 2018
  • Italy 17th (out of 39 countries) in the Istituto Bruno Leoni globalization ranking

Milan, 28 March 2017 Whirlpool believes in Italy and was the promoter of a meeting today focusing on the attractiveness of the Italian System: challenges, opportunities and prospects, in collaboration with Assolombarda and the American Chamber of Commerce in Italy. Held at Assolombarda’s office this morning, the event also coincided with the relocation of Whirlpool’s headquarters for EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) from Comerio (Varese) to Pero, in the former Expo office building.

Participating in the meeting were: Gianfelice Rocca, President Assolombarda, Michele Scannavini, President ITA (Italian Trade Agency), Simone Crolla, CEO American Chamber of Commerce in Italy, Cristina Tajani, Milan City Counsellor for Employment, Trade and Human Resources Polices, Enrico Cereda, CEO IBM Italia, Cristina Scocchia, President and CEO L’Oréal and Carlo Purassanta, CEO Microsoft Italia.

“Italy is at the center of our development plans for EMEA,” commented Esther Berrozpe Galindo, President Whirlpool EMEA. “Here is where we cultivate and invest in talent, know-how and creativity at the service of innovation and quality. We feel it’s our duty to promote growth and new opportunities to help the country make up the still existing gaps and make it more competitive in the global arena. A commitment that on the occasion of #ItalyMatters received the appreciation and support of government and some of the most active enterprises in the country.”

The meeting centered on a presentation of the Globalization Ranking drawn up by Istituto Bruno Leoni, which analyzes the degree of G20 and EU countries’ globalization performance by measuring and comparing correlations between countries’ main growth indicators. Three main macro-indicators were identified: a country’s exposure to global trade, it capacity to attract or generate foreign direct investment, and its degree of connectivity with and participation in global knowledge markets.

“Measuring the degree of openness to globalization is important because there is a gap between the perception and reality of the internationalization of trade,” commented S. Sileoni, Vice-General Manager Istituto Bruno Leoni. “In fact, while public opinion in many countries tends to be against globalization, the evidence suggests that participation in global markets is a positive factor for growth, occupation and fairness.”

“We’re proud to be the only multinational with a regional headquarters in Italy, and we’re convinced that our choice, consolidated over the last 28 years, will soon be followed by other big international groups,” continued Whirlpool’s President EMEA. “Besides, here in Italy we’ve always found fertile terrain for implementing our development plans, and most recently, in July 2015, on committing ourselves, alongside government and social partners, to an investment plan worth over 500 million euros to be implemented by the end of 2018.”

IBL survey

In 2015, the ranking drawn up for Whirlpool by Istituto Bruno Leoni was headed by Ireland, which proved itself the champion of globalization ahead of Malta and Denmark. Italy was ranked 17th behind the big European economies of the UK (6th), Germany (7th), France (9th) and Spain (13th).

The ranking is headed by “small” economies, which are generally keener to integrate with foreign countries to overcome the limitations of a domestic market unable to produce on its own many of the goods and services demanded by consumers. This is particularly true of states that have over the years become financial centers, Malta being a case in point. In 1994, the first year considered for the Ranking, the most globalized big country was the United States, ranked 7th (slipping to 14th in 2015). Regarding the major European nations – France, Germany and the UK – they had the same rankings, slightly ahead of Italy.

The case of Italy

The Bruno Leoni survey sees Italy as a country relatively open to globalization, albeit with ample margins for improvement. Our country’s strength is its high permeability to international trading of goods: Italian trading in fact rose from around 41% of GDP in 1994 to 57% in 2015, thus topping the pre-crisis high of 55% in 2006. Where Italy seems to lag behind its main competitors, on the other hand, is in foreign direct investment: with rare exceptions, FDI flows between 1994 and 2015 have been around’1% of GDP. In terms of connectivity, Italy performs well despite certain delays caused by the digital divide between the north and south of the country.

The survey identified a number of objective competitive advantages for Italy in respect of other comparable economies: favorable geographical position, professionalism and manufacturing tradition, and a dynamic entrepreneurial fabric.

With the economic crisis, the tendency towards globalization seen in Italy over the years slowed down somewhat despite the country’s record exports performance in the last few years.

The 3 key advantages of globalization

The survey examined today pinpoints certain important correlations between level of globalization and factors contributing to wealth, development and wellbeing in economies.

Above all, the more open a country is, the more its per capita GDP has grown over the years. With the due exceptions, it is generally the poorer countries, i.e. those starting out a long way behind the advanced economies, which recorded the most significant growth their citizens’ purchasing power.

The survey also identified a relationship between globalization and unemployment, both overall and amongst the young and women. Despite the decoupling of the two indicators during the global economic crisis, there was a faster recovery in employment rates in conjunction with the resumption of international trading in the countries at the high end of the Ranking.

Lastly, the countries most exposed to globalization tend to have fewer internal inequalities, a higher gender parity index in school/university attendance rates in the 15-24 age bracket and lower pollution levels.

The manufacturing “champions” of globalization

Another interesting aspect of the survey was evidence that countries with stronger manufacturing industries tend to be more open to global trade. This is probably for two reasons: the first regards the nature of manufacturing itself, a phenomenon of global integration of value chains. Production processes and specialization are now so internationalized that manufacturers are compelled to organize themselves globally. The other reason is that manufactured products are easier to export than services. In terms of production characteristics and the high capital-intensive nature of the modern “factory”, the manufacturing industries have a natural tendency towards internationalization.

It is particularly interesting in this context to note the role played by multinational enterprises, given that bigger and more internationalized corporations tend to generate more stable and better paid jobs. They already represent 33% of Italy’s GDP and employ around 1 million people, i.e. 4.5% of total employment (ICE, 2016). In Lombardia alone there are just under 6,400 companies with foreign investment and they generate revenues of over 257 billion euros and employ over 570,000 people (Camera di Commercio, Milan, 2017).

Multinationals therefore create highly significant tangible value but are at the same time the most evident examples of global integration of chains of value, due to both their internal organization and their strategies with respect to suppliers. In the countries where they establish themselves they also help instill a veritable culture of openness and are vehicles for the spreading of knowledge and technological transfer and, as such, important innovation drivers.