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Letters to the editor

Federico Failla
Italy’s ambassador to Seoul

I wish to bring to your attention that the article “Rise of Korean Mafia” (March 19, 2019) is grossly inaccurate on the increase of the Italian GDP in 1987.

The article is, indeed, based on incorrect data and misguided assumptions on the inclusion of the “mafia” related activities in the Italian national economy. The re-evaluation of the amount of our gross domestic product (GDP) in 1987 did not happen “out of the blue” and did not include illegal activities. On the contrary, it was the result of revised calculation methods adopted by the Italian National Statistics Bureau (Istat) following new international standards.

After a rigorous study, the new computation system came to include parts of our national economy which were excluded thus far and which my country is positively renowned for. I refer to the services sector and our countless small and micro enterprises that have thrived on the Italian territory, sometimes over tens, if not hundreds of years. The share of their output excluded by the calculation methods until that time represented a fifth of the Italian economy. Hence the increase of our GDP by 18 percent in 1987, compared to the previous year.
The so-called Italian mafia, on the other hand, represents a criminal sector that plays no role in the Italian official economy.

My country has dedicated its biggest efforts to tackle this phenomenon, and some of its best officials have even paid the highest price in order to stand by the law.

I would like to seize this opportunity to express my esteem and trust into the sources of your newspaper, and offer my utmost cooperation in providing you, if necessary, with more details about the Italian economy.
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