Francesco Pensabene, Trade Commissioner at the Embassy of Italy and Coordinator for Italian Trade Commission Offices in India, feels Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative can strengthen business ties between the two countries.

Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), Italian Trade Commission in New Delhi, ASSOCALZATURIFICI (Italian footwear manufacturer’s association), and AIMPES (Italian leather goods manufacturer’s association) on Friday organised a round-table discussion on “Forecast trends in Italian fashion for shoes and bags” at the ongoing Amazon India Fashion Week (AIFW) Spring-Summer 2017 here.

Pensabene expressed his views post the discussion on the third day of the five-day fashion gala here.

Asked how he sees the business relationship between the countries building with the Indian government, stressing on Make in India initiative, Pensabene told IANS: “I think we are doing very well”.

“The trade exchange between Italy and India has amounted to 7.3 billion euros in 2015. ‘Make in India’ is a fantastic chance to improve our investments into the country from fashion to furniture to automotive…We can do a wonderful job and I think there is a long-lasting and fruitful combination,” Pensabene said.

He also shared that Italy has invested 1.5 billion euros in India and he believes he “could do more”.

The panelists included Salina Ferreti (Vice President of ASSOCALZATURIFICI); Riccardo Braccialini (President AIMPES); Italian designers Orietta Pelizzari, Maria Soriano and Dario Pavon with Indian designers Rajesh Pratap Singh and Sanchita Ajjampur.

Talking about association with the fashion gala, Pensabene said: “Through this platform we have the chance to make Italian companies better known to Indian designers and companies and it is also a chance for Indian designers to get connected with Italian companies.”

Pensabene added that “it is a great platform to increase business interaction between Indian and Italian designers”.

The fashion gala will close on Sunday with a guru-shishya (Master and Disciple) presentation by designers JJ Valaya and Alpana-Neeraj.