The Southern Regional Chapter of The Italy-America Chamber of Commerce held a luncheon Oct. 24, which was the new chamber’s first formal event and drew some 35 Atlanta area professionals in fields as varied as law, banking, shipping and manufacturing.

William Principe, president and owner of The Cutting Sewing Equipment Company, which imports most of its garment manufacturing equipment from Italy,  and Mark Zuccolo, president of Schweizer Bund America, Inc., a U.S. marketing and distribution company with both U.S. and Swiss shareholders, spoke.

Mr. Principe encouraged American corporations to consider doing business in Italy, adding that the logistics there were not significantly more complicated than for domestic trade, thanks to rapid communication and shipping technologies.  He also underlined the exceptional quality of industrial and high-tech products available in Italy.

Mr. Zuccolo warned against media-propagated stereotypes, and emphasized the separation between Italy’s notoriously messy politics and the relatively stable business sphere.  Even the ubiquitous Italian strikes are considered controlled statements of political positions, he said, not last-ditch efforts to control contractual power plays.

He pointed to regional differences such as Northern Italy’s propensity toward manufacturing versus the agricultural tradition of the South, as an important consideration of foreign companies seeking to expand into Italy, commenting as well that business need not be conducted through Rome or Milan to be lucrative.

The chamber’s next event will be a breakfast meeting Wednesday, Nov. 9 that will focus on sports and commercial litigation in Italy and will be held at 7:30 a.m. in the executive conference room of the Resurgens Plaza.  Scott Tobin and Roger Kirschenbaum of the law firm, Weinstein, Rosenthal, Tobin & Caldwell, will speak.

For more information about the chamber, call Lawrence Gould, executive director, at (404) 913-0500; fax, (404) 671-8513. 

                                -Lynnika Butler