AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - Italy's ambassador to the United States visited Auburn University on Monday to expand student exchange programs and academic research partnerships with Italian universities.
He also hopes American and European leaders will soon sign a free trade agreement and strengthen economies all over the globe.
Ambassador Dr. Claudio Bisogniero received a warm welcome in Auburn during Monday's Q and A session at the AU Student Center.
"This is my first trip, I am impressed by the town and the university it has been way above my expectation," Bisogniero said.
He encouraged students to take advantage of existing and expanding study abroad programs and academic research partnerships.
"We signed an agreement between Auburn University and a group of Italian Universities led by Rome and 20 or 30 Universities to facilitate future exchange contacts for students going over there and students coming here," Bisogniero said.
The ambassador spoke in favor of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, to create free trade between America and Europe.
"We have been doing this negotiation for one year now, we hope to have a breakthrough at the end of the year and get it singed if everything goes smoothly in 2016," he said.
The ambassador estimates the agreement could increase Alabama exports to Europe by 138 percent.
"The figures indicate this is going to be about nearly 10,000 additional jobs in Alabama if we do this treaty right," Bisogniero said.
A key part of the agreement is unifying product certifications – if product is certified by US standards, it would not need to be certified in Europe, and vice versa.
"The objective is to create free trade of about 800 million people between Americans and Europeans being able to trade and invest freely on both sides of the Atlantic," he said. "It will create economic jobs on both sides of the Atlantic and it's a win-win situation."
Bisogniero was named ambassador of Italy to the United States in 2012, when he presented his credentials to President Obama.
From Alabama, he will be traveling to Arkansas and Oklahoma to promote economic, cultural and scientific ties with Italy.