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Favorable business climate paves way for Italian manager's success story in China

Xinhua Updated: 2023-02-14

The recent initiation of production at the newly completed dry composite film workshop in north China's Tianjin municipality filled Mirko Turrina with excitement.

The workshop is the phase III expansion project, with a total investment of 15 million euros (about $16 million), of Goglio (Tianjin) Packaging Co., Ltd., an Italian company dedicated to producing aseptic packaging for tomato paste, juice and coffee, as well as filling equipment and services.

The 47-year-old Turrina, who hails from Italy, is the company's general manager.

Since his move to China in 2004, Turrina has called the southern city of Guangzhou his home for the past 14 years. During this time, he successfully guided a foreign joint venture towards full localization in engineering and R&D, and was instrumental in the company's listing on China's National Equities Exchange and Quotations (NEEQ), also known as the "new third board."

With a wealth of experience under his belt, he relocated to Tianjin in 2018, eager to take on new challenges and continue making his mark.

With an eye on the tremendous opportunities and the geographic advantage of Tianjin and the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, he joined Goglio's Tianjin plant.

Turrina believes that the consistently optimized business ecosystem and the favorable policy environment in China have been the primary catalysts for the company's growth and success.

For instance, the company engages in offshore trade, which means both the places of origin and sales of the traded goods are overseas destinations, he explained.

"We had to buy some other goods from our parent company or sister companies in U.S. and Europe since we did not localize some products yet in Tianjin. This created some problems in the past," Turrina said.

Chinese banks could not verify whether the trades were real or not when it came to offshore trading, as no goods entered the country and there was no customs declaration.

Goglio's headquarters or other branches would first ship the goods outside China to the destination countries by sea, and then send the original bills of lading back to Tianjin.

Once the bills of lading were presented to Chinese banks for verification, they would be forwarded to overseas customers, allowing for the receipt of goods and enabling Goglio's Tianjin plant to settle the accounts.

"In this case, the flow of bills would take at least one month. Some of them may take even longer," Turrina said.

Things started to change at the end of 2021 when Chinese authorities issued a notice to support the development of new offshore international trade to boost innovation.

The airport area of China (Tianjin) Pilot Free Trade Zone, where the company is located, soon followed with a new mode of offshore trade in place to facilitate the service.

These policies provided credit endorsement for the company's offshore trade, reducing the delivery time for the bill of lading. "The new policies helped us to improve our customer satisfaction and business overseas," Turrina said.

"We did pretty well compared to the past," he said, adding that in 2022, the Tianjin plant saw a 30-percent increase in orders from Asia.

In the future, Turrina hopes to make the Tianjin plant Goglio's manufacturing hub in the Asia-Pacific region, and provide more products and service solutions for customers in China as well as other parts of Asia.

With nearly two decades of residency in China, Turrina has acquired a permanent Chinese residency card.

"I have fully integrated into life in China. I feel happy and want to stay longer," Turrina said.