February 21, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
– Sputnik France, translated by Tom Winter –
Read the account of last year’s visit by this group here
Italian business leaders will visit Donbass February 21 to 23 to learn about the situation on the spot and discuss the creation of a common market, as business takes precedence over politics, said the vice-president of the Lombardy-Russia Cultural Association, Gianmatteo Ferrari, in an interview with Sputnik.
A group of Italian businessmen will visit the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk (DPR) to meet the representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economy of the DPR to discuss opportunities for cooperation.
Gianmatteo Ferrari, who has earlier participated in the business delegation from the Italian region of Veneto and who visited Donetsk and Lugansk in November 2016, decided to replicate the initiative to help the inhabitants of the DPR and the LPR (self-proclaimed Lugansk Peoples Republic) to recreate the businesses they have lost, said the vice-president of the Lombardy-Russia Cultural Association Gianmatteo Ferrari in an interview with Sputnik.
Besides the various tax and legal advantages – foreign entrepreneurs who want to invest in the republics are exempt from tax for 20 years – it is above all humanitarian ends that motivate businessmen: “In both republics, there are coal mines, steel mills, power plants, but they lack know-how in the agricultural industry, and we want to help them, to get the entrepreneurs of the industry able to invest, and help people create their own businesses. For example, dairies, to be able to process milk and produce cheese, or greenhouses to grow vegetables … which will stay in the republics, not for export.”
Another advantage, and not least: the economy must start from scratch. Thus, wages are low, the same as for the minimum wage. Another opportunity is in sight: to get around the Russian embargo. “Italian agriculture lost about 4-5 billion dollars because of the Russian embargo. If someone opens up production of products on the embargo list in one of the two republics, they will probably be able to export them to Russia. But this is not our main task. This is just one of the possibilities that might come to us.”
He specified that this was a study visit to understand what the republics need and how to remedy it. “If everything goes well, we will organize a second visit which will mark the beginning of a productive cooperation.” Ferrari said he had not been pressured by the Ukrainian authorities, although he and all parliamentarians who had visited the DPR and the LPR were on their black list. And to conclude: “Yet even if we had pressured us, we would not have yielded. “