Italian politicians upbeat on resuming exchanges with China

(Xinhua) 09:04, February 24, 2023

ROME, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- Italy looks forward to the full resumption of bilateral exchanges with China at an early date and aims to strengthen cooperation -- especially in economy and trade -- to better benefit the two peoples, senior figures in the country's political circle have said.

China and Italy are both members of the Group of 20 (G20) and representatives of extremely important civilizations in the world, Gian Marco Centinaio, vice president of the Italian Senate, said at a welcome reception on Wednesday evening for Jia Guide, China's new ambassador to Italy.

"As in the past, trade is a key element in the relations between our countries today," Centinaio said, adding that he expects two-way tourist flows to significantly increase after the easing of pandemic restrictions.

The relations between Italy and China have a long history and a bright future, Centinaio told Xinhua. Italy and China have lively economic and cultural relations, he said.

He praised China's efforts in managing the pandemic and to improve bilateral ties, which "allow trade relationship to improve further."

China is an important and expanding market for Italy, Centinaio said, recalling that he served as his country's minister of agriculture about five years ago.

Chinese consumers have shown growing interest in Italian brands and products across fashion, engineering, automotive, and agricultural industries, he said, adding that Italian wine and food products are also entering the daily life of Chinese consumers.

"This allows us to look at China as a preferred interlocutor with whom we can establish further business relations," he said.

Romano Prodi, former president of the European Commission and Italy's former prime minister, told Xinhua at the reception that Italy-China relations and Europe-China relations are a crucial "component of the future," highlighting "indispensable" cooperation and dialogue between the two countries.

Noting that bilateral direct exchanges have been largely hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past three years, Prodi urged the two countries to quickly resume direct exchanges in various areas.

"Right now, from an economic point of view, China's recovery is indispensable for Europe's recovery," said Prodi, adding that the two countries need to strengthen their Belt and Road cooperation.

According to China's foreign ministry's October 2022 figures, China was Italy's largest trading partner in Asia and Italy was China's fourth largest trading partner in the European Union.

Two-way trade between China and Italy totaled 77.88 billion U.S. dollars in 2022, Chinese customs said. 

(Web editor: Wu Chaolan, Liang Jun)


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