November 12, 2020
Good morning, I would like to welcome you all and say how pleased I am that we that we are able to gather today, even if only virtually. I hope to be able to welcome you all in person one day soon.
Our purpose today is to celebrate the longstanding partnership between the United States and Italy by launching a program to build enhanced ties between our private sectors through U.S. government grants to Italian, American, and international companies. All of our guests represent companies that are working to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy.
Italy and the United States have a long, shared history and deeply entwined economies and societies. Since World War II we have been close and constant allies who share the same values of democracy and free enterprise.
When the COVID-19 pandemic first broke out in Italy, the United States moved quickly to support our friend and partner with a broad range of resources.
To date, the United States has provided sixty million dollars in assistance to Italy, through the U.S. military and the Agency for International Development – USAID.
In the early days of the outbreak, the U.S. military donated excess equipment to hospitals throughout the country and assisted the Italian military in transporting supplies and equipment needed to battle the pandemic.
The U.S. military continues to provide millions of dollars of personal protective equipment to the Italian health care sector.
Through USAID, the United States is providing ten million dollars in durable medical equipment, including ventilators, to Italian hospitals.
The United States has also given thirty million dollars to non-governmental organizations operating in Italy, including the Italian Red Cross, the Rotary Club, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, AVSI, CUAMM, and others.
And of course, the reason that we are here this morning…
Through USAID’s INVEST program the United States is providing a total of ten million dollars in grants to the Italian, American, and international firms with us today.
These grants will allow each of the recipients to bring its unique skills to the fight against COVID-19.
Some of you will use the grants as seed capital to attract additional private capital that will be invested in Italian companies producing medical equipment, therapeutics, vaccines, and supplies.
Other grant recipients will use the funds to provide technical assistance to Italian companies expanding or converting their operations to produce personal protective equipment and the other supplies Italy needs to fight the pandemic.
Italy was the epicenter of the first outbreak of COVID in Europe last spring. Through much pain, suffering, and sacrifice, the Italian people endured hardships and encouraged remarkable personal discipline to bring the outbreak under control.
As another wave hits Italy and all of Europe, I believe the Italian people will face the pandemic with the same resilience and fortitude with which it managed the first wave.
The United States stands with our Italian friends, and we are pleased to provide assistance to help you in this fight.
I look forward to hearing from each of you about the work that you will do to help Italy achieve its goal of protecting its citizens and contributing to international efforts to face this global challenge.