A high-level Italian delegation, comprising Mr. Luigi Merlo, Head of Genoa Port Authority, Ms. Viviana Caponi, Italy's Economic and Commercial Attache in the UAE, and Mr. Alberto Ferrando, Director of Genoa Port Authority; paid an official visit to Dubai Customs to learn about the experience of DC in customs business and online clearance of related transactions. The delegates were received by Ahmed Butti Ahmed, Executive Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, Director General of Dubai Customs. The head of Genoa Port Authority said that "Dubai Customs enjoys a world-class reputation in customs work, and is a role model in speeding up procedures whilst firmly controlling all imported and exported goods and shipments." This visit, he explained, is aimed at exploring and benefiting from work mechanisms and procedures followed by DC. Mr. Merlo pointed out that he asked Dubai Customs to support Genoa Port in light of Italy's preparations to host Expo International 2015 in Milan. Such support will include signing of various cooperation agreements, to avail of Dubai Customs' internationally commendable administrative and human expertise. Mr. Ahmed Butti reaffirmed Dubai Customs' wiliness to share its accumulated expertise with all customs agencies in friendly countries around the world. He noted that DC strongly supports Italy's preparations to host Expo 2015 and is fully ready to provide everything required to make this event a success, especially that Italy boasts excellent multi-sector ties with the UAE in general and Dubai in particular. The two sides agreed to form a joint working group to negotiate and draft a joint cooperation agreement and to alleviate any obstacles that might hinder trade movement for Expo 2015. The working team got down to business straightaway by holding a meeting, chaired from the part of Dubai Customs by Ms. Nermin Ahmad Issa, Director of Legal Affairs Department. The Director General of Dubai Customs remarked that Italy is one of Dubai's major trading partners in Europe. Dubai's trade with Italy has grown by 8 percent during the first 9 months of 2013, reaching Dh16 billion compared to Dh15 billion registered in the same period a year ago. Over the past few years, their bilateral trade increased tremendously, going from Dh15 billion in 2010 to Dh18 billion in 2011 to Dh20 billion in 2012. The visiting deputation expressed high appreciation for the efforts of Dubai Customs in providing every facilitations and services to traders and investors, and its firm keenness to cooperate with global partners so as to attain the best results in terms of facilitating legitimate trade internationally. "Dubai Customs is willing to strengthen communication with the ports and customs authorities of our trading partners in order to ensure the provision of top services and facilitations to ease and enhance trade with these countries, thereby contributing to support Dubai's economic growth and boost its enviable position as a regional and global trading hub, the position which has been lately reinforced when Dubai won the trust of the entire world to be the host city for the Expo 2020," said Mr. Ahmed Butti.