THE Italian Trade Commissioner, Mr Aniello Mussela, yesterday announced the official launch on April 26 of the first Italian Business Association in Hongkong. ''With our trade increasing at an incredible speed, we plainly need a business association here in Hongkong. Just to give you an idea, in seven years alone, re-exports from Hongkong to Italy have increased by 2,341 per cent,'' said Mr Mussela. ''And since 1985, there has been a 427 per cent increase in overall trade. ''If you look at the 80s, bilateral trade ventures between the two countries were very poor. Today, we have more than 250 companies in Hongkong, and we view Hongkong as our gateway to China.'' Mr Mussela stressed that in the region, Hongkong had the biggest Italian business presence. ''With seven branches of Italian banks, 15 representative bank offices, an extensive garment and apparels industry, goldsmiths, significant leather and building goods industries a business association can only enhance trade by providing an organised linkbetween business associates in the region and overseas,'' he said. The president of the Italian Business Association will be Mr Roberto Dominici, who is currently the managing director of Joyce Boutiques.