TOASEAN Business Days 2023
See you on October 19th for the TOASEAN Business Days 2023 at Castello del Valentino. More details will shortly follow on this page.
The TOASEAN project was born with the aim of stimulating the attention of local companies towards the great potential of this geographical area.
Based on the latest 2022 update, Italian exports to this area exceed 9 billion dollars, remaining below the 2% threshold thus definitely lower than that of Germany (25.8 billion dollars) and France (13.1 billion dollars).
The main Italian products exported to ASEAN are (in brackets major destination countries):
With a GDP exceeding 3 trillion dollars, about 5 times the value recorded in 2000, a population of over 670 million people, the ASEAN area is today the fifth largest economy in the world and the third in Asia (growth index greater than 5%).
It is estimated that the ASEAN area middle class will stand at 65% of the population in 2030, thus predicting a booming consumer market.
TOASEAN aims to convey to entrepreneurs a realistic awareness and perception of ASEAN markets with the aim of laying the foundations for high-profile networking and stimulating companies' interest in Southeast Asia by presenting a network that is more easily accessible than geographical distances would lead to think.
TOASEAN offers a series of useful tools to guide and support Italian companies in setting up and consolidating their business in the region.
The project takes shape from the collaboration with the University of Turin (Department of Cultures, Politics and Society) and T.wai (Torino World Affairs Institute).
After starting free trade negotiations in 2007, the EU and ASEAN broke off negotiations in 2009.
Since then, the EU has been negotiating with individual member states. Negotiations are going on with Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines while the agreement with Singapore and Vietnam has been signed.
Visit the European Parliament's page dedicated to the EU-ASEAN agreement,
The EU–Singapore agreement explained (europa.eu)
EU trade relations with Vietnam (europa.eu)
The population of the Philippines has more than one hundred million inhabitants and the nation is characterized by a market and an economy fully immersed in the Asian boom. English is the second official language and is taught in all schools in the country.
The Philippines' propensity to consume is among the most important in the ASEAN area, thanks to one of the youngest populations in the region. Moreover, thanks to a constantly growing GDP (341.30 billion euros by 2022), the level of consumption remains stable and rising.
The country represents for European and Italian companies a profitable operational base to do business in the Far East (industrial activities, support, and assistance services) providing direct access to all major markets in the area. [MF1]
It is worth mentioning that in recent years investments have increased in the field of infrastructure, industrial activities, tourism and the agro-industrial supply chain, sectors characterized by opportunities for the supply of technology and know-how that Italian companies can offer. Finally, despite a still marginal presence of Italian companies in the country, there is a growing interest in the Italian entrepreneurial system by the Philippine economic system.
As of 2021, Italy's net foreign direct investment (FDI) stocks in the Philippines reached a total value of €740.7 million.
Italian top export to the Philippines (category) :
Computers, electronic and optical equipment (€220 million)
Machinery and equipment n.e.c. (150 million euro)
Food and beverages (€109 million)
Textiles, clothing, leather, and accessories (€87 million)
Products from other manufacturing activities (€61 million)
Electrical appliances (€47 million)
Italian exports to the country:
2019 2020 2021 2022
Total (mln. €) 795,03 570,48 678,84 824,00
Variation (%) 20,1 -28,2 19,1 21,5
Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines Inc. ICE office covering Philippines area
With a total trade of 4.7 billion dollars in 2022, Italy is Jakarta's third largest trading partner in the European Union after Germany and the Netherlands and before the United Kingdom and France. Trade is mainly based on Italy's import of natural raw materials (palm oil) and minerals (coal) from Indonesia and on the Italian export of capital goods (machine tools, machinery for general and special uses, etc.).
The growth potential is important especially in the traditional sectors of Italian exports (e.g. industrial machinery) if compared to trade with other ASEAN countries and if considering the size of the Indonesian market and its development prospects. As of 2022, Indonesia's GDP has reached a total value of €11150 billion euros.
Finally, Italy's net foreign direct investment (FDI) stocks in Indonesia reached a total value of €847.6 million by 2021.
Italian top export to Indonesia (category):
Machinery and equipment n.e.c. (383.4 million euro)
Chemicals and chemical substances (EUR 96 million)
Food and beverages (€83.7 million)
Base metals and metal products, except machinery and equipment (€72.8 million)
Means of transport (EUR 71.2 million)
Textiles, clothing, leather, and accessories (€68.8 million)
2019 2020 2021 2022
Totale (mln. €) 1.357,19 1.068,00 1.028,00 1.060,00
Variation (%) 12,5 -21,3 -3,8 3,1
Jakarta ICE office
With a GDP at current prices that stands at around 343.50 billion euros by 2022, according to the Economic Observatory of the Italian government, the country is perceived by Italian entrepreneurs "as the ideal bridgehead" to expand in Southeast Asia, thanks to a strategic geographical location and a high degree of openness to international trade, in addition to having a good infrastructure system being upgraded.
In addition, the abundance of natural resources, a dynamic tertiary sector, the relatively low costs of the real estate market, a high level of per capita income that guarantees high consumption and the spread of English and Chinese languages and an excellent cost/quality of life ratio, make Malaysia an attractive country to produce technologically advanced goods destined for regional and international markets.
Finally, the Italian economic presence in Malaysia has grown significantly, in fact in recent years Italian companies have doubled, going from 50 registered in 2012 to more than 100 to date. A significant increase directly attributable to the diversification process of the Malaysian economy and the increasing business opportunities that have followed.
In 2021, Italy's net foreign direct investment (FDI) stocks in Malaysia reached a total value of €2285 million.
Italian top export to Malaysia (category):
Computers, electronic and optical equipment (€345 million)
Machinery and equipment n.e.c. (320 million euro)
Means of transport (EUR 171 million)
Chemicals and chemical substances (EUR 138 million)
Products from other manufacturing activities (€130 million)
2019 2020 2021 2022
Total (mln. €) 1.270 1.149 1.120 1.525
Variation (%) 8,0 -9,5 -2,5 36,2
Italian Chamber of Commerce in Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur ICE office
Relations between Myanmar and Italy, as well as with the entire West, have long been affected by the isolation that has hit the country since the 1962 coup d'état. After fifty years of military dictatorship, in 2011 Myanmar embarked on a path of democratic transition that gradually led to the removal of sanctions by the US and the EU.
On February 1, 2021, the army coup established an authoritarian and highly repressive military regime in the country. Understandably, market volumes remain low, with Italian exports to Myanmar reaching a value of around 60 million euros in 2022. As of 2022, Burma's GDP has reached a total value of €52.60 billion.
As of 2021, Italy's net foreign direct investment (FDI) stocks in Myanmar reached a total value of €141 million euros.
Italian top export to Myanmar (category):
Tanned and processed leather, travel goods, bags, leather goods and saddlery, prepared and dyed furs (€13.4 million)
Animal feed products (€10 million)
Processed and preserved meat and meat products (€9.8 million).
Electric motors, generators and transformers, electric power distribution and control equipment (€7.9 million)
Other special purpose machinery (EUR 5.2 million)
Textiles (€4.9 million)
2019 2020 2021 2022
Total (mln. €) 81 60 38 68
Variation (%) -18,2 -25,2 -37,2 79,2
Italia-Myanmar Chamber of commerce (IMYBC) – Torino
ICE office covering Myanmar area.
A city-state of just under 6 million inhabitants, Singapore is the most advanced economic system among the countries of Southeast Asia, with a per capita income among the highest in the world, an educated population, and the highest rate of innovation in Asia, the eighth in the world (according to the 2021 ranking of the OECD Global Innovation Index), with 394.70 billion euros of GDP by 2022.
Singapore is one of the founding countries of ASEAN, of which it held the presidency in 2018 and of which it boasts the status of the most advanced economic system.
In addition, it represents the main strategic, commercial, financial, and logistical 'hub' and the main access point to Southeast Asia for the European Union and the United States.
Singapore is a reference point for high electronics, information technology, telecommunications and biotechnology, thanks also to important government investments implemented over the last twenty years. In terms of trade relations, the city-state is the EU's largest trading partner in Southeast Asia and the first destination for Italian exports to the region.
Specifically, in 2022 Singapore was the 42nd destination market for Italian exports and 68th supplier of Italy. At the same time, Italy was Singapore's 18th largest supplier and 30th export destination market globally.
In 2022, trade between Italy and Singapore reached a total value of 3.2 billion euros, with Italian exports to Singapore of 2.4 billion euros and imports of 748 million euros, with a positive trade balance for Italy of 1.7 billion euros and important margins for improvement.
Italian companies, especially those with high technological content, can find in Singapore a high-profile partner for product development or to export products to the rest of the region, as well as concrete support from government agencies dedicated to supporting high value-added investments.
The economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has also significantly affected the Singaporean economy, faced by the Singapore Government with incentives totaling 92.9 billion Singapore dollars (60.2 billion euros), almost 20% of the country's GDP, financed in part by currency reserves.
To boost the country's economy, the Singapore government has prioritized areas such as: robotics, e-commerce, environmental sustainability, digitalization of value chains, education technologies, travel safety and tourism.
As of 2021, Italy's net foreign direct investment (FDI) stocks in Singapore reached a total value of €1152 million.
Italian top export to Singapore (category):
Computers, electronic and optical equipment (€662 million)
Machinery and equipment n.e.c. (€349 million)
Chemicals and chemical substances (EUR 237 million)
Textiles, clothing, leather, and accessories (€206 million)
Products from other manufacturing activities (€178 million)
Means of transport (EUR 154 million)
2019 2020 2021 2022
Total (mln. €) 2.042 1.874 2.199 2.430
Variation (%) -3,7 -8,2 17,3 10,5
Italian Chamber of Commerce in Singapore
Singapore ICE office
Strategically located, the country is an ideal hub to operate in the region. From 2015 to 2019, average GDP growth rate has been between 3% and 4%. After a two-year period of partial closure of the country, by 2022 the GDP growth rate stands at around 2.60%, reaching a value of 419 billion euros.
Exports, together with tourism, represent one of the pillars of the country's economy. Thai exports, constantly growing, have reached a total value of 241 billion euros. Thai exports main items range from electronic products (14%), vehicles (13%), machinery (7.5%) and food products (7.5%). Agricultural products, especially rice and rubber, make up about 8% of Thailand's exports.
Main destination countries are China, the United States and Japan. Finally, the health crisis has given great momentum to the implementation of e-commerce, starting from the food, footwear and leather goods and fashion sectors.
Bilateral trade with Italy in 2022 exceeded 4 billion euros, placing the latter in 22nd place among Thailand's supplier countries (third among EU states) with a value of 1849 million euros in 2022.
As of 2021, Italy's net foreign direct investment (FDI) stocks in Thailand reached a total value of €542 million.
Italian top export to Thailand (category):
Machinery and equipment n.e.c. (€487 million)
Textiles, clothing, leather, and accessories (€188 million)
Computers, electronic and optical equipment (€182 million)
Chemicals and chemical substances (EUR 155 million)
Products from other manufacturing activities (€149 million)
Base metals and metal products, except machinery and equipment (€143 million)
2019 2020 2021 2022
Total (mln. €) 1.560 1.417 1.570 1.849
Variation (%) 14,3 -9,1 10,7 17,8
Thai Italian Chamber of Commerce
Bangkok ICE office
During the last ten years, Vietnam has experienced significant and progressive economic growth. Since 2010 it has been part of the middle-income countries, with the aim of becoming an industrialized country by 2030. With a population of 96 million, Vietnam is one of Italy's main partners in Southeast Asia.
The Vietnamese economy is supported by a manufacturing sector driven by foreign investment, attracted by incentives provided by favourable legislation and the availability of skilled, young, and cheap labour. As of 2022, total net foreign direct investment in Vietnam has reached a value of more than $16 billion. In addition, the country's GDP reached a total value of 344 billion euros by 2023.
The industrial structure is made up of 96% SMEs, with strong dynamism and determined to acquire products, machinery, technology, and advanced management models, to enter the international production chains with higher added value and benefit from the advantages offered by the free trade agreements to which Vietnam is a party.
At the end of 2022, Italian foreign direct investments in Vietnam reached a total value of 120 million euros, mainly concentrated in the manufacturing sector and confirming the choice of Vietnam as a production platform and regional hub for the markets in the area.
As of 2021, Italy's net foreign direct investment (FDI) stocks in Vietnam reached a total value of €1038.3 million.
Italian top export to Vietnam (category):
Machinery and equipment n.e.c. (385 million euro)
Textiles, clothing, leather, and accessories (€332 million)
Food and beverages (€134 million)
Chemicals and chemical substances (EUR 114 million)
Products from other manufacturing activities (€62 million)
Pharmaceutical, chemical-medicinal, and botanical articles (€56 million)
2019 2020 2021 2022
Total (mln. €) 1.299 1.056 1.183 1.359
Variation (%) -0,2 -18,7 12,0 14,9
Italia-Vietnam Chamber of commerce - Torino
Italian Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (ICHAM)
Ho Chi Minh City ICE office
Source: Italian government economic observatory