Italo Orientale Chamber of Commerce is open to all Italian and foreign operators and organizations interested in the development of relationships of collaboration and social, cultural and commercial exchange between Italy and Eastern countries with particular reference to those located between the area. Balkan and the Far East.

Click on the titles below to open and read one of the paragraphs dedicated to the history of the Camera di Commercio Italo Orientale.

It was founded on 23 March 1924, thanks to the strong and persevering will of the management of the Bari Chamber of Commerce and the government itself. The Italo Orientale was led by men like Antonio De Tullio, the first president in the history of the institution, Michele Viterbo, general secretary, Nicola Ferrorelli, among the vice presidents of the section. Furthermore, in its register, it includes equally illustrious honorary advisers such as Raffaele Gorjux, Araldo Di Crollalanza, Sergio Panunzio, Gaetano Postiglione who did so much to ensure that the Chamber was established. The Italo Orientale was born as a coordinating and driving body, to look after Italian interests in the East, thus overcoming the limited action of those Chambers of Commerce, mixed or bilateral, which considered it a precious point of reference. This was possible due to its breadth of program and the availability of means, which allowed it to carry out a wider action. Sante Cosentino himself, later Secretary General, spoke of: “necessary action, with regard to the East, because many markets, while not presenting great interest, are also worthy of being carefully monitored in view of future possibilities”. The activity of the Italo Orientale, supported by the political one, was particularly lively towards Albania, towards which great attention was developed to “strengthen the union between the two shores”. The Technical Committees, the Development and Propaganda Section, bodies provided for by the Statute, gave great impetus to the studies of the Chamber which carried out a capillary work of information on the Eastern markets, with in-depth investigations by its correspondents. Numerous publications and market studies completed the operational picture of Italo Orientale which, in 1935, had an archive with the names of over 70,000 companies including importers and exporters, accompanied by explanatory notes. To give the dimension of the chamber phenomenon, in the same year, among other initiatives, an Italian-Turkish dictionary dedicated to commerce was published. The publication of information bulletins is also interesting: one internal and one for the foreign market.

The work of the Chamber was aimed at gathering and coordinating the efforts of all the Italian provinces, to intensify and make more rational the penetration in the oriental markets, and to avoid the disorderly action that often made the good game of foreign nations commercially better prepared. There were also numerous study trips and economic missions, such as in 1928 in Turkey, with young people who had attended the Chamber’s “Exporters Course” at the Smyrna Fair, in which a large number of Italian companies took part. Eighty of them from northern Italy relied on Italo Orientale to introduce individual products to that nation. Exemplary was the exhibition of the catalogs of Italian companies in correspondence in Albania.

Another chamber action was aimed at collective propaganda for Italian olive oil, to support the competition of vegetable oils and fats, once again providing its support in the eastern markets. The Eastern Italian Chamber of Commerce played an active role in the birth of the Fiera del Levante. In fact, it is necessary to go back to an exhibition that was held in Bari in 1900, which had satisfactory results for the local industrial, commercial and agricultural groups. After this experience, on the initiative of Antonio De Tullio, a Citizen Committee was born to organize an exhibition to be extended to the entire region. The initiative, interrupted due to the First World War, was resumed in 1924 and involved the Eastern Italian Chamber of Commerce, as the main protagonist for the creation of the Fair, thanks to its natural vocation, close to the approach program between Italy and the Levant. This young institution, in collaboration with the Bari Chamber of Commerce, managed to carry out the ambitious project: the “Fiera del Levante”. The Fair, which initially was to be called “Fiera Italo Orientale”, received its first official recognition on October 3, 1929, and was authorized to organize the first exhibition for September 1930.

From the first Statute, to confirm the active role in the nascent sample, the presence, in the Executive Council of the Fair, of the Eastern Italian Chamber of Commerce, through two of its representatives, was envisaged. Since then the activity of the two institutions has continued in a relationship of common and parallel initiatives, undertaken in favor of the development of the local and Italian economic fabric in general, also through the Chamber’s foreign correspondents. Their work was made available to the Fair for decades. Just to mention a few events, in 1938, the Italo Orientale organized economic conferences with the representatives of Bulgaria, Egypt, Greece, Yugoslavia and Turkey. For some time, there was a Merci Exchange (today’s “Business Exchange”), within which the Chamber carried out information and promotion activities for Italian companies, constantly monitoring the development of foreign markets. On 6 March 1927 the Italo Orientale, with R.D. n. 549, was erected into a moral entity.

In the period between its creation and the beginning of the Second World War, the Chamber was one of the main architects of the diffusion of Italian products in the world, with a series of successful initiatives, planned by ambitious and capable men, who were able to exploit the position geographical area of ​​Puglia for the interests of the Region and Italy. The main activities include: – the creation of a considerable number of delegations in various countries, with the aim of providing support to companies operating abroad; – the establishment of a Studies and Research Section dedicated to carrying out in-depth research at an international level, to allow entrepreneurs to be constantly and promptly informed on the performance of the various markets.

After the Second World War, Isidoro Pirelli was elected President of the Italo Orientale, who remained in office until 15 July 1968, followed by Vittorio Triggiani, who also held the position of Vice President of Fiera del Levante from 1949 to 1963 and President from 3 August 1963 to 1976. During the Triggiani Presidency, the office of Secretary General was held by Sante Cosentino.

An example for all of the fervent and multifaceted work of the chamber officials was the organization of a traveling exhibition carried out on a ship that touched the main ports of the Mediterranean, so as to make known the typical products of the Puglia Region.

Following the disappearance of the main protagonists of the time, the Chamber progressively decreased its activity up to the almost total suspension also due to war events.

In 1983, and precisely on July 8, before the notary Francesco Reboli, by the will of the then President of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture and Crafts of Bari, the Hon Luigi Farace, the Eastern Italian Chamber of Commerce was reconstituted with the adhesion of eighteen entrepreneurs and the Chamber of Commerce itself as a founding and financing body. This reconstitution receives the endorsement of the Ministry of Industry, Crafts and Agriculture, Div. X, with prot. 306894 of 8 August 1984. Luigi Farace was also elected President of Italo Orientale. With ups and downs, the Chamber continues its work and in February 1993, having received a government post, Farace resigns from the Presidency of the Bari Chamber of Commerce which will be commissioned.

In May 1994, after a period marked by a lack of activity, due to various reasons, with the election of the new statutory bodies, having declared Farace unable to maintain the office, the Presidency was entrusted to Silvio Panaro, who, overcoming considerable difficulties, thanks to his commitment, he reorganized the activities of the Chamber, both in Italy and abroad, with the creation of numerous correspondences.

In 1998, the company offices were renewed and the President and the Board of Directors were reconfirmed: further recognition for the positive activity carried out. The initiatives of the Chamber are multiplying and the press and other media give wide resonance to the initiatives, so much so as to push various Bodies and Institutions, such as the Region, Provinces, Municipalities and other Chambers of Commerce to request registration with this glorious body, which in the meantime receives the recognition of the Ministry of Economic Development (formerly Foreign Trade) and is registered in the register of mixed and foreign Chambers of Commerce in Italy held by unioncamere. It was an acknowledgment that enhanced the role of the Chamber, which supported companies in the field with an active role in order to enhance their possibilities of exporting and therefore making Made in Italy known abroad.

Italo Orientale has over time carried out various economic missions in favor of the companies that adhere to it, and which have the opportunity to meet potential partners abroad, just one example: in Albania in 1994 and 2002, in Greece in the Epirus area in 1996 and in 1997, in Romania in 1996, in Montenegro in 1997 and subsequently, meetings with delegations in Italy, from Thailand, Hungary, Romania, Egypt, Poland, Japan, Slovakia, etc.

In 2001, the shareholders’ meeting, given the persistence of the problems connected to the economic conditions and the need to make substantial changes to structures that were now inadequate to the needs expressed by several parties, decided to entrust extraordinary powers to Silvio Panaro, calling him to take on the role of Commissioner Extraordinary.

The Chamber has also entered into collaboration agreements and memoranda of understanding with commercial offices of foreign embassies present in our territory, with some organizations of entrepreneurs abroad, chambers of commerce and organizations in general (eg Unido). Over the years, some memoranda of understanding, formalized in writing, have been signed between the Italo Orientale and various Chambers of Commerce such as: Albania, Montenegro, Romania, Turkey, Macedonia, Ukraine, etc.

In addition, the promotion of companies has also developed through trade fairs: one for all the Fiera dei Comuni, a unique initiative of its kind conceived by the Chamber, and carried out by the Fiera del Levante of Bari. Another event held is the Forest Fair and Montana directed to the revaluation of the forest and mountain heritage. Also at the Fiera del Levante, for several years, during the important international exhibition in September, representatives of the chambers have been present at the Borsa degli Affari, to encourage talks between companies and visiting foreign operators. Over the last few years, through its area representatives, Italo Orientale has participated in trade fairs with its own stands, to enhance and publicize its knowledge on the Italian territory (in Puglia, Lazio, Lombardy and Calabria, etc.) and foreigner (Albania, Romania, etc.).

The CCIO also proposed and organized an exhibition of Apulian food and wine products: “Taste Puglia”, the first edition of which was held during “Romaespone: Fiera Campionaria di Roma”. In Romania “Alle porte del Levante” was successful for the registered Italian companies that moved with the aim of promoting the “made in Italy” product. In 2000 a memorandum of understanding was signed between this body, the Municipality of Foggia, the C.C.I.A.A., the Confcommercio, the Fiera di Foggia, the Unioncamere Puglia and the Expo C.T.S. of Milan aimed at the creation of “Euro & Med Food 2000”.

Facilitating Italian commercial penetration abroad is the first point to which attention is paid in the planning of the annual activity.

In 2000, to the usual work aimed at promoting registered companies and bodies, the granting of some sponsorships was added, in some cases with direct collaborations, also through our correspondents and partners. We mention: the European Film Festival (Corato), a conference dedicated to energy sources in Cetraro (Cs), a meeting-seminar on the economy and legislation in Albania and so on.

This activity has continued in recent years with the granting of sponsorships and various initiatives in the various economic and cultural sectors.

The organizational experience with the Municipality of Bisceglie of the “Mediterranean Entrepreneur” award in collaboration with our Chamber was interesting. In recent years, agreements have been activated in various sectors in favor of members so that they could take advantage of concessions and discounts on services provided directly by the CCIO or by means of selected affiliated professionals.

In 2001 Panaro was re-elected to the Presidency with the task of finding agreements with Bodies and Associations in order to favor long-term planning, guaranteeing the quality of the services offered.

In April 2002, the Statute was amended, adapting it to the new requirements.

The new institutional arrangements have suggested coordinated planning between several entities, especially at the local level, in honor of the principles of federalism and subsidiarity, and we are concerned with following the path of collaboration between institutions that have the same purpose: the commercial penetration of the ” made in Italy “on foreign markets. In fact, the chamber managers have always believed in the need to proceed with common actions between organizations responsible for internationalization.

In 2011 Antonio BARILE was elected at the head of the Chamber.

The new President enthusiastically declared that he wanted to consolidate the positions acquired by the Camera di Commercio Italo Orientale in recent years, favoring in all local, national and international contexts, the actions that can allow to collaborate and implement medium and long-term projects both with public and private institutions.

A few months after his election, he signed an interesting memorandum of understanding with the Prahova Chamber of Commerce and to follow with Halal Italy and with Samer of Bari.

Italo Orientale Chamber of Commerce monthly before and quarterly for some years, has been publishing a periodical with which it provides useful information to members who are constantly updated on legislative news of general interest, Fairs in Italy and abroad, requests and offers of goods and services.

Specifically, in relation to requests and offers, a database has been created which contains information, complete with references, for direct contact.

This is just one of the many services available and usable only by members.