Paris, June 20 - Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti today stressed the importance of helping small and medium-sized Italian firms become stronger on international markets, speaking after a visit to the pavilion of Italian companies at the 2017 International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget airport. "Italy is excellently represented both by large companies and by many small and medium-sized firms, most of which, though not all of them, are gathered in regional clusters with innovation abilities of absolute interest" at the aviation and aerospace exhibition, the minister told ANSA. "Space is an important foreign market", she added. The defense minister also stressed the importance of helping small and medium-sized firms become stronger and competitive on foreign markets to improve their production, innovation and employment capabilities. She went on to highlight the capacity that Italy's small and medium-sized companies have to evolve: "I like to remember a company that used to produce fridges and reinvented itself in the aeronautic sector with excellent success". For the minister this is demonstration of "Italy's extraordinary ability of Italy to produce things of great quality and to be able to renew itself when markets change". The minister visited the stands of large companies like defense and aerospace giant Leonardo and aerospace group Avio at the exhibition, as well as those of many small and medium-sized businesses in the sector. She was handed by the president of Italian Space Agency (ASI), Roberto Battiston, and by the CEO of Thales Alenia Space, Donato Amoroso, a model of the first earth observation satellite system Terra Cosmo SkyMed launched 10 years ago, the outcome of a dual civil-military program funded by the education and defense ministries.
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