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Relaunch of the SEZs for the competitiveness of Southern Italy

A new path for the investment and development of companies and ports
reading time: 7 min

Law no. 162 of November 2023 introduced into our legal system the Single Special Economic Zone ("SEZ") which - as of 1 January 2024 - will replace the 8 SEZs currently present on the southern territory, merging them into a single one.

Southern Italy, therefore, will become a single SEZ Area and investors intending to settle in this territory will have several advantages ranging from tax credit to the possibility of obtaining bureaucratic and customs benefits, as well as subsidies also offered by the individual Regions adhering to the new model.

In addition, it is worth remembering that the SEZ will have a strong connection with the port and logistics development of Southern Italy, being an initiative designed to accommodate import-export oriented companies which, therefore, have strong needs to move their goods to reach the reference/supply markets.

It is worth mentioning both the large SEZs in the Mediterranean, which have boosted the economy of some countries that make extensive use of them, and the cases of the large SEZs of the Arab Emirates and China, which with their tax incentives (zero taxes for many years for investors) have allowed large industrial groups to build settlements and, therefore, to create employment, port traffic growth, with significant increases in the import-export sector.

SRM, in some recent studies, has estimated that a SEZ can grow the annual average exports of a territory by up to an additional 4% and container port traffic by 8.4%; significant figures that could make an important contribution to our economy. In addition, these instruments are also considered strategic by the NRRP which has made available a sum of 630 million euro to develop the logistics, road and rail infrastructure of the territories included in the SEZs.

These instruments could also aid those reshoring/friendshoring/nearshoring strategies which are now being so hotly debated. Indeed, in some cases, in order to encourage the return of companies that have historically relocated to neighbouring countries, an incentive is needed that could certainly start from the presence of a SEZ, which would give them bureaucratic and financial facilities even for those who wish to redefine their allocation choices.

Currently there are over 160 Single Authorisations, for investments in the South, granted to Italian and foreign companies that have requested them from the Commissioners (the governance body of the SEZs); following the establishment of the Single SEZ, the Commissioners will be replaced by a technical mission structure at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers with tasks of developing, programming and monitoring the results and performance of the instrument.

Intesa Sanpaolo has always believed in the development of this instrument and has an international roadshow underway; indeed, a mission organised by the Bank and dedicated to the promotion of the development of Italian ports took place in Frankfurt on 9 and 10 November, through the Single Special Economic Zone of the South and the Simplified Logistics Zones of the Centre-North, with the aim of attracting foreign investment and supporting the competitiveness of the country's production system.

After last year's initiative held in Naples which put the enhancement of these strategic areas back on the map, the Intesa Sanpaolo Group, as part of the broader 410 billion euro plan planned to support the NRRP, renewed its commitment by raising the national ceiling dedicated to new production facilities, the expansion and modernisation of existing ones and investments in the energy sector in the SEZ and SLZ to 10 billion euro, confirming its role as the main reference bank in this sector.

The mission, carried out with the support of the Frankfurt Branch of the IMI Corporate & Investment Banking Division of Intesa Sanpaolo and in collaboration with VISA, was born from the collaboration with the Italian Chamber of Commerce for Germany, ICE – Italian Trade & Investment Agency, SRM – Research Centre associated with Intesa Sanpaolo, and Confindustria.
An Italian delegation composed of representatives of Ports, SEZs and SLZs participated and had the opportunity to meet 25 German companies potentially interested in investing in our country.

SOURCE: the data are processed by SRM (Research centre associated with the Intesa Sanpaolo Group) with various sources.


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