September 29, 2012 / 3:36 PM / 7 years ago

Italy minister says working with Fiat over export measures

MILAN (Reuters) - The Italian government has started working with Fiat FIA.MI on possible measures to improve the Italian carmaker’s export capacity, Industry Minister Corrado Passera said.

“We are at work already, talks with Fiat have started,” Passera was quoted by Italian media as saying on the sidelines of a political event in Turin on Saturday.

Prime Minister Mario Monti and three cabinet ministers met for five hours with Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne in Rome on September 22 to discuss ways to help the company’s manufacturing efficiency.

As a result of the meeting, Fiat pledged to keep building cars in Italy while shifting its business model to focus on exports. The Industry Ministry said it would set up a working group to examine how to help the company export more.

Fiat had earlier announced it was freezing planned investments to avoid further losses in a weak car market, stoking fears among unions and politicians that it would shift production to cheaper manufacturing centers abroad.

Marchionne, who also heads Fiat’s U.S. partner Chrysler, in which Fiat owns a majority stake, said at the Paris auto show on Thursday he had discussed tax breaks on labor costs and exports with Monti.

Reporting by Antonella Ciancio; editing by James Jukwey

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