Consul General Gianfranco Colognato acts as gatekeeper as South Florida, Italy work to boost trade, cultural ties
If there is one sector that stands out in South Florida's commercial relations with Italy, it is the trade in yachts and other boats. A number of Italian-owned boatyards are located here - including some of the biggest names in the industry. As the Miami area's economy booms, so does the number of mega-yachts produced here and purchased in Italy for use by our full-time or part-time residents. According to figures provided by the trade office in the Consulate General of Italy in Miami last week, yachts and other boats worth $167 million were exported from South Florida to Italy in 2004 while those made in Italy and imported into South Florida had a total value of more than $136 million, in an overall two-way trade of $1.2 billion.
Other exports from here range from aircraft parts to locust beans and imports from Italy from wine to perfumes.
But the South Florida-Italy relations are not just commercial - tourism, arts and culture, educational exchange also figure highly.
Playing a key role in strengthening this international entente is Italy's consul general based in Miami since July 30, 2003 - veteran diplomat Gianfranco Colognato, 64, whose distinguished career in service of his country has included postings in the Sudan, Switzerland, Nigeria, Somalia and Germany as well as in important positions at the Foreign Office in Rome.
Mr. Colognato was interviewed by Miami Today international editor Michael Hayes.
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