Fiscal agreements for large investments, standardized procedures to authorize the initiation of new productive activities, contractual regulations for workers that are adapted for specific investments, tax credits for Research&Development. These are some of the fifty moves that the Italian government designed to attract foreign capital and to boost the quota of foreign capital in Italy, currently stuck at 1.6% of the global quota. The project, named “Destinazione Italia” [Destination Italy] defined a wide array of interventions – some of which already approved, others that can be concretized in a periods of time that range from very short to medium term – all of which are centered around three goals considered essential to increasing the appeal of the “product Italy”.
The first is certainty regarding regulations: addressed by introducing standardized models at the national level to obtain the green light to start a new business, and by defining, with the unions, specific agreements on the work conditions during the initial phases of a new production. The second is certainty about time, pertaining to both the time necessary to obtain the authorizations to begin production – to this effect, the idea is to reform the Conferenza dei Servizi [Services Committee], that is to say the group of entities who all need to give their own green light to a project; as well as to the time to resolve disputes given that, according to the World Bank, Italy ranks 160th in resolution times for commercial disputes – the average procedure lasts 1,210 days and costs approximately 30% of the demanded payment. The government will tackle the second issue by strengthening the business courts, concentrating the jurisdiction for foreign investors in Rome, Milan, and Naples, as well as increasing the penalty interest rates applied in the case of delayed payments on commercial transactions. Ensuring the potential foreign investor the certainty of the fiscal regime constitutes the third pillar of the “Destinazione Italia” plan. This objective is the goal of the first of the interventions indicated in the document introduced by Premier Enrico Letta: the introduction of tax agreements for investments that exceed a threshold, whereby the enterprise and the Revenue Service preemptively and permanently negotiate the taxes to be applied for a determined period of time, for example, the investment’s first five years. Additionally, the Revenue Services will work, through its “desk dedicated to foreign investors” to accelerate communications with foreign subjects and resolve any potential interpretative controversies.
A significant portion of the project’s planned measures pertain to the real-estate sphere. Firstly, the government aims to proceed and accentuate the valorization of the Agenzia del Demanio [Public Lands Agency] and particularly disused structures. Secondly, there is a will to make the Italian real-estate assets more attractive through a more energetic thrust of liberalization of large structures for non-residential purposes, and to facilitate the change of designated usage, especially for assets that are in disuse or owned by companies in distress. Finally, “Destinazione Italia” looks to institutional investors in the real estate sector by facilitating, partly through reformed fiscal norms, the development of SIIQ’s (Real Estate Investment Trusts).