history

The Thai-Italian Chamber of Commerce was established in 1978. It was founded by five businessmen: Teddy Spha Palasthita, Giorgio Berlingeri, Luigi Margherita, Roberto Jotikasthira, and Massimo Bernadelli. At its inception, the sole purpose of the Thai-Italian Chamber was to provide an member exclusive environment for a group of friends with similar interests. All other existing Chambers already had very specific objectives of integrating the economies of the many different countries. In time, the Thai-Italian Chamber also started to adapt and develop a mission of its own. The congregation of friends and business acquaintences sought to promote trade as well as help secure and establish the industrial and cultural relationship between Thailand and Italy.

80’S

It was not until 1982 that the Italian government recognized TICC as an organization. Officially, TICC became an organization consisting of private companies and local entrepreneurs. It would from hence forth operate in compliance with by-laws set by its members and approved by the Thai Ministry of Commerce, in accordance with Thai Law, as well as endorsed by Assocamerestero (Association of the Italian Chambers of Commerce, Abroad).

Ever since its inception, Roberto Jotikasthira, one of the founding fathers of TICC, held the position of President. At the time, the office was located on 511 Sri Ayutthaya Road, 3rd Floor, in the office of Thai Tourism. It was not until 1986, that the position changed hands. Martin Albani assumed the role of President from 1986 to 1989. During his presidency, the members of the Chamber started to drastically increase. Thus, he moved the location of the Chamber headquarters to the Chokdai Building, 8th Floor, 290 Sukhumvit, Soi 24.

The literal move from building to building, played an important role in the history of the Thai-Italian Chamber of Commerce. For the first time, the Chamber occupied an office of its own and in one of the most prestigious buildings in Bangkok. This move provided TICC with a sense of independence and greater visibility to serve the public. During this same period, Mr. Vittorio Nanni held the office of Secretary General, followed by Ms. Gertraud Meesaiyai, who was employed by the Chamber until late 1989.

In 1988, during an interview for “Business in Thailand”, Mr. Vittorio Nanni commented, “ We are still a young Chamber and our membership not yet large—we are working hard to increase the Italian presence in Thailand and if we are successful, our increased size will reflect that.”

As the years progressed, TICC became stronger in every aspect. It became a member of Unioncamere (Association of the Italian Chambers of Commerce, in Italy) and also started to cooperate with the Istituto Commercio Estero (ICE, Italian Trade Commission) in Thailand. These two moves were beneficial for TICC because it helped develop business between the two countries. Eventually, this helped secure the support from the Italian Embassy as well as provide a sense of commercialism in Bangkok. Along with its mission, TICC focused on business as well as social issues in its host country.

TICC partook in many memorable events in the 80s. One particularly memorable event was that in celebration of the King’s 60th birthday. In 1987, the Chamber took the initiative to raise money to sponsor three watertank and school lunch projects. This fund was distributed to three schools in Nakhon Ratchasima. To follow up with their initial donations and contributions, on Friday the 11th of August 1989, the Chamber visited the three schools: Ban Klong Khum Primary School, Pak Tong Chai District, Nakhon Ratchasima; Ban Don Muang Primary School, See Kue District, Nakhon Ratchasima; Ban Nakhagnarm School, See Kue District, Nakhon Ratchasima.

TICC during the 90s…

When Augusto Romei became President of the TICC in 1990, the office of the Chamber was relocated once again. This time to the heart of Bangkok’s central business district — The Vanit building. During this time, Angelo Cucchi held the title of Secretary General ( a position he left in 2004).

TICC achieved remarkable results in the 90s. The huge economic development in Thailand played a very significant role in TICC’s achievements. During this time, TICC acquired over one hundred memberships and hosted many popular events. For instance, in 1997, the Chamber organized an event that was considered out-of-the-norm for the organization. Instead of the usual business networking events, it hosted a one of a kind fashion show. Brands such as Valentino, Prada, and Benetton all partook in the famous Italian Fashion Show. The event took place at the Ballroom of the Hyatt Hotel. The event was noted to have been so packed that people stood in queues just to enter.

Furthermore, it was during this time that TICC distinguished its goals. The Chamber shifted its casual acquaintances to a more business oriented environment. There were many things that were addressed and improved. For example, before the 1990s, TICC had no system of financial report. Consequently, the Italian government was not able to finance the activities organized and presented by the Chamber. After the system was introduced, all TICC projects were evaluated by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs before they were executed. The government would cover 50% of all costs for projects that were considered to foster an Italian Image in Thailand. With this in mind, TICC was able to better forecast incomes and expenses as well as plan its activities accordingly.

During this time, TICC also signed agreements with the Chamber of Commerce of Milan and the Promos Milano. This allowed TICC to benefit from the commercial and economic agreements with the most important Italian Chamber of Commerces, such as those of Modena, Vicenza, and Bari.

As far as trade is concerned, TICC organized many institutional missions in Italy.  The Chamber accompanied the Thai Minister of Commerce, H.E. Somsak Thepsuthin and the Thai Minister of Industry, H.E. Pinit Jarusombat to Italy. The aim of those missions was to introduce Thai governmental institutions to food, textile, and fashion that is prevalent in the Italian industries. Furthermore, in 1992 TICC organized a mission to Vietnam with the aim of introducing Italian companies to the Vietnamese market. 30 people visited Hanoi and Ho Chi Min City. It was during these visits with the Vietnamese Ministry of Commerce and the Minisitry of Foreign Affairs that the delegation established a connection with the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce. To establish such a relation with the governmental organization was difficult and impressive because during that time, Vietnamese authorities and entrepreneurs were not so willing to open their door to foreigners.

During this time, TICC also became an active member of the JFCCT (Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce, in Thailand). This proved to be beneficial because the Thai government were more receptive of the united voices. All issues were quickly addressed and resolved. In addition, by this time, TICC had gained the support of both the Italian Embassy and the ICE (Istituto Per Il Commercio Estero).

From 2000 up to now…..

It was during the term of Angelo Cucchi that the role of Secretary General became essential in the successful performance of the Thai-Italian Chamber of Commerce. Furthermore, Ms. Rossana Charuseni, the Secretary General from 2004 to 2005, also contributed to the success of the Chambers. She helped secure cooperations with “Fiera Vicenza” and “Artigiano Fiera Milano”, which thus lead to the solid and successful economic trade ties between Italy and Thailand.

After Ms. Charusenia’s term, Giovanni De Fiumi assumed the office of Secretary General. He moved the headquarters of TICC to the 16th Floor of Vanit Building II in 2005. His term was followed by Mr. Federico Bogna from 2006 to 2008. Mr. Bogna helped improve services to SMEs, increased cooperation with Italian Fairs, and began the Silk and PRO GIS EU projects. The following year, Ms. Michelle Cristell became the new Secretary General, followed by Mr. Sandro Zanello in 2009.

In 2010, the Chamber’s office has been renovated to include a new conference room, new equipment, and more space dedicated to Italian entrepreneurs who are interested in the prospective start-ups of business in Thailand.

In 2011, TICC expanded its presence in Thailand by opening another chapter in Phuket. Today, there are over 160 members of TICC and the organization continues to actively serve all members throughout Thailand.

Presidents of TICC

•     1978 Five Founders: Teddy Spha Palasthita , Giorgio Berlingeri, Luigi Margherita, Roberto Jotikasthira, Massimo Bernardelli

•     1986 – 1989         Martin             Albani

•     1990 – 1991          Augusto         Romei

•     1992 – 1995          Cosimo          Di Vito

•     1995 – 1996          Baldassare   Sparacino

•     1996 – 1998          Adolfo            Benedetti

•     1999 – 2000         Roberto         Jotikasthira

•     2001 – 2005         Yongyudh     Teeravithayapinyo

•     2006 – 2009        Eugenio        Collavini

•     2009 – 2010         Ekkamon       Hutasingh

•     2011 – 2012           Lino                Geretto

•     2013 – 2015           Giacomo        Mauri

•     2015 – Present      Lino                Geretto

Secretary Generals of TICC:

•     1990 – 2004         Angelo          Cucchi

•     2004 – 2005        Rossana       Charuseni

•     2005 – 2006        Giovanni       De Fiumi

•     2006 – 2008        Federico        Bogna

•     2008 – 2009        Michelle        Cristell

•     2009 – 2012         Sandro          Zanello

•     2012 – 2014         Giovanni       Quaratesi

•     2015 – Present    Michele        Tomea

Written by

Simone de Salvatore, Alessandra Ciardo, Valetina Benini, Tiffany Ma and Sandro Zanello