The Italian government is looking to the East. The Minister of Economic Development, Luigi Di Maio, visited China from 19 to 21 September, to strengthen the economic and commercial ties with Beijing.
During the first stop of his mission, in Chengdu, Di Maio met Sichuan Province Party secretary, Peng Qinghua, with whom he signed bilateral institutional agreements. The next day, the Minister also participated in the inauguration of the Italian Pavilion of the Western China International Fair, of which this year Italy was “guest of honour”, with 55 companies already operating in China ready to show the public Made in Italy products and even an exhibition using virtual reality. The Minister also met representatives of the Italian bodies responsible for the organization of the Pavilion, the Consulate General in Chongqing, the Ice and the Italian-China Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Italian business community of Chengdu.
Di Maio’s visit led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for investments in third-party countries, on which the Ministry’s undersecretary, Michele Geraci, had already reached an agreement during his previous mission to China earlier this September. The agreement will allow Italy to present itself as a privileged partner for China, thus representing a landmark in the dialogue concerning the future of the Belt and Road Initiative and Italy. Di Maio noted how “it is very important for us to make it clear that we are happy to be the only G7 country to have continued the negotiations up to this point”. As far as relations with China are concerned, he gave voice to the apprehensions of Italian companies that are requesting further government involvement in the relationship with their Asiatic counterparts. The Minister will return to China next November, to attend the China International Import Expo, to be held in Shanghai from the fifth to the tenth of the month.
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