Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that he has sent letters to Italian officials, especially President Napolitano and Foreign Minister Bonino, urging the country to keep its Philadelphia consulate open. Recently, Italy announced that it was considering closing the consulate. In his letter, Senator Casey cited the critical role that the city’s strong ties to Italy has played for the region’s economy through job creation and trade. In 2010, the region accounted for approximately $300 million in exports to Italy. Casey also cited Philadelphia’s large Italian-American population and the city’s role as an east coast hub of business, politics and culture in making the case. Senator Casey also spoke with the U.S. Ambassador to Italy, John Phillips, to emphasize the strong economic and cultural relationship. In addition to the region’s exports to Italy, Italy also benefits from exporting a large number of products into Pennsylvania. Recently, Israel considered closing its Philadelphia consulate but reversed course following a letter from Senator Casey.
“From the first days of our nation’s founding through today, Philadelphia has remained one of our country’s preeminent cities,” Senator Casey said. “Having a consulate in Philadelphia has strengthened our historic ties to Italy and resulted in significant job creation and economic growth through trade. I’m urging Italy to reconsider closing its Philadelphia consulate so it can better maintain its robust economic relationship with Pennsylvania and the region.”
The full text of Senator Casey’s letter can be seen below:
President of the Republic of Italy
Dear President Napolitano:
It has recently come to my attention that the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is considering closure of its consulate in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I am writing to respectfully urge you not to take this action. An active consulate in Philadelphia is vital to maintaining the strong, longstanding relationship between the people of Italy and the people of both my home state of Pennsylvania and the larger mid-Atlantic region.
Philadelphia is a vibrant economic, political, and cultural hub for the East Coast. Curtailing Italy’s official representation in Philadelphia would adversely affect the historically strong relationship that Pennsylvanians have enjoyed with Italy.
I understand that Philadelphia is home to one of the largest Italian-American populations in the country. The United States and Italy enjoy a fruitful economic partnership, with billions of dollars in trade moving between the two countries each year. According to the Department of Commerce International Trade Administration, in 2010, the Philadelphia Metropolitan area exported $302 million worth of goods to Italy, making it one of the top 10 metro area exporters to Italy in the U.S. Numerous Italian companies export hundreds of millions of dollars of goods to the Philadelphia region. A number of Italian companies also have large facilities and do extensive business in the Philadelphia region and throughout Pennsylvania. This strong relationship has created and supported jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.
I appreciate the enduring partnership between the United States and Italy, and I meet regularly with constituents who share this conviction. While I understand that your government is weighing competing priorities in a challenging financial environment, I urge you to keep the consulate in Philadelphia open. I believe that keeping the Italian Consulate in Philadelphia open is vital to the furtherance of our two nation’s shared goals.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. I strongly value the longstanding relationship between Italy the United States. I look forward to remaining in close touch as this matter proceeds.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator