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Interview: Italy-China ties set to soar following Xi visit, says official

(Xinhua)    13:17, March 23, 2019

ROME, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Italy is very important and will boost the two countries' commercial relationship, a senior Italian official said Thursday.

In an interview with Xinhua, Michele Geraci, undersecretary of state for economic development, said his country wants to enhance economic ties with China for mutual benefits.

During Xi's visit, which started Thursday, the two sides are expected to sign intergovernmental cooperation documents in such fields as diplomacy, economy and trade, and culture, as well as commercial areas concerning infrastructure, machinery and finance, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

"We hope Italian and Chinese companies get to know each other more, and explore more business opportunities for mutual advantages," said Geraci, who heads the Italian government's Task Force China.

Launched in October, Task Force China aims to boost economic relations with China by pursuing "more access to the Chinese market, better quality products, and more investment."

Geraci said the new body helps Italian firms, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises, better understand the Chinese market by informing them of new cooperation opportunities as well as changes in Chinese policies and laws.

"We will try to organize business meetings for Italian and Chinese companies, so they can go down into more details and explore some opportunities," said the undersecretary, who used to be an investment banker and spent around 10 years in China.

The expanding middle class in China wants good-quality food, and "there are good producers of food and agricultural machinery in Italy," which can lead to r cooperation in agricultural business, said Geraci.

Meanwhile, "we want to attract investment; that is beneficial to our economy," added the Italian official. "Chinese investments are very much welcome."

He stressed that a plan has been made to attract Chinese investments, particularly green-field ones, which will bring much more than just new employment.

"Chinese companies may be interested in Italian ports," he said. "We are planning to expand the capacity of existing ports," like Trieste in northeast Italy and Palermo in Sicily.

Geraci said similarities in Chinese and Mediterranean culture are good starting to further bilateral economic cooperation.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Bianji)

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