Home » STM, Urso avoids the clash over Chery: “But the chips are strategic, we will produce more in Italy”

STM, Urso avoids the clash over Chery: “But the chips are strategic, we will produce more in Italy”

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STM, Urso avoids the clash over Chery: “But the chips are strategic, we will produce more in Italy”

trento — On chips we are moving “from competition to full collaboration”, says Business Minister Adolfo Urso after leading the Italian G7 dedicated to Industry and Technology, in which the big seven created a working group to coordinate strategies on semiconductors. Urso does not enter into the StM issue, whose controlling share belongs to the Mef, but relaunches the government’s strategy to increase chip production in Italy.

You talk about collaboration, but there is an ongoing battle between Western countries of subsidies and protectionism to grab as much chip production as possible…

«It’s clear that everyone prefers to have more production in their own country, and that’s what Italy is doing too. But in my opinion collaboration will prevail, especially to guarantee supplies in the event of new crises. Everyone is aware that geopolitical conditions have changed.”

In this subsidy challenge, Italy has limited resources. Is she doomed to lose?

«As Draghi explained, Europe must invest 500 billion euros a year in major transitions and if we do not want to divide the single market the resources must be common. That said, Italy is able to compete in attracting investments because it has a favorable ecosystem and a market with great demand, from automotive to household appliances. The government has increased the resources that can be used, according to European rules, to 4.7 billion to incentivize investments in microelectronics. The 3.2 billion Silicon Box, just announced, proves it.”

But the investments received from France and Germany are much higher, with a giant like Intel deciding not to produce in Italy. What didn’t go well?

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«All Intel’s requests had been satisfied, it is the company that has revised its investment plans in Europe, also renouncing those for research in France. This year we will announce other chip operations, from Asian and non-Asian companies.”

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Speaking of traditional sectors, the commissioners are working on a recovery plan for the former Ilva. Why should a foreign investor bet on a plant that has gone from crisis to crisis?

«Because in the reconfiguration of the European steel industry, with a new Iron Curtain in the East and the need to obtain supplies from the South, the Italian sites recover their full value. This is demonstrated by the recent agreements on Piombino with Jindal and Metinvest. In Taranto we want to apply the same model: as Metinvest itself tells us there will be a growing demand for “pre-reduced”, the raw material for electric ovens, to be made in a place that guarantees low-cost gas and renewable plants”.

Ukrainian Metinvest has said it is interested, but says it is not an open dossier at the moment.

«She’s not the only one. We speak with five multinationals, two already with concrete projects.”

Don’t any legal consequences, or possible new judicial interventions, make the investment in Taranto even more risky?

«There will be no consequences, we have created a legislative context that fully protects future investors. Steel and chips are the two bases of our industrial policy, which will then allow us to get to the car, where we want to bring a second manufacturer to Italy in addition to Stellantis and reach 1.3 million cars a year, a figure that guarantees the sustainability of the ‘national industry’.

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The Chinese Chery group says it is considering an investment in some European countries, including Italy. How many incentives do you put on the table?

«It’s not the only one, and we have 3 billion euros for development contracts. But I also said that if the new incentives for the purchase of cars do not lead to a growth in national production, the resources of the automotive fund – 5.3 billion – will also be shifted to production. I asked Europe to do the same, also for solar panels, chips and batteries: we need to move from incentives for consumption, if they mean buying Chinese products, to those for production, to develop the industry in Europe.”

So the consumer doesn’t pay all the costs of the transition?

«No, because by safeguarding the industry we will have workers with higher salaries, who will be able to afford an electric car, rather than ending up on redundancy pay».

No to imports from China but yes to Chinese companies, if they produce here?

«Of course, especially in batteries, the beating heart of the electric car and the key to the reconversion of all related industries, where Italy is lagging behind».

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When will this big car investment arrive?

“I think by the middle of next year we will be able to announce it.”

Doesn’t your government’s ongoing battle against EU transition objectives risk diverting green investments towards countries, like Spain, that are racing to be first?

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“Absolutely not. On issues such as packaging, Euro7, light vehicles everyone looked at us with skepticism but then they agreed with our positions. The truth is that we have imposed a different interpretation of the transition in Europe, which also makes it sustainable on a productive, social and employment level, because otherwise we will reach the goal of death. And after the elections our positions will become even more widespread.”

A month and a half has passed since he announced the new car incentives, but the decree has not been seen. Funding problems?

«Nobody, it’s 950 million as I said. As can happen when several ministries are involved, the last signature from the Economy is missing.”

Regulations for Industry 5.0 incentives are also missing: companies are waiting for them.

«On April 13th we will begin a tour of the local Confindustrie to illustrate how they work, by then we will have everything».

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