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CICC chairman: 'Italy and China will equally benefit'

By Yang Cheng | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-02-23 13:28

The China-Italy Chamber of Commerce is feeling upbeat about Belt and Road Initiative-related projects, said its chairman Sergio Bertasi during Italian President Sergio Mattarella's ongoing state visit to China.

CICC chairman: 'Italy and China will equally benefit'

Chamber Chairman Sergio Bertasi

"A large part of Belt and Road Initiative-related projects will be in the Balkans/Eastern European area, which is an area well known to Italy and where Italian companies have great ties with local companies. In many countries we have also a large Italian industrial presence," he noted.

The chamber is optimistic about opportunities brought about by that initiative. As the chairman said: "The initiative will be a natural area of cooperation, facilitated by the utilization of the Adriatic Sea which, with its ports, has served as a way for Italy to expand toward the East."

China is Italy's fifth commercial partner for trade volume: 5 percent of Italian exports go to China. In 2016, the trade deficit decreased, with Italian exports going up by 4 percent, while Chinese imports decreased by 3 percent. Major growth was registered in exports of furniture, automotive goods, food, beverages and pharmaceutical products.

"The Belt and Road Initiative could further leverage Chinese interest for investments in Italy, a hub in the ancient Silk Road," he said.

According to a study published in January 2017 by Rhodium Group and the Mercator Institute for China Studies, between 2010 and 2016, Italy ranked third among European destinations of Chinese Investments abroad (12.6 billion euros, $13.3 billion), behind the UK (23.6 billion euros) and Germany (18.8 billion euros).

The Chinese government has launched specific programs to tackle the new economic normality.

"I recall Made in China 2025 as a formidable opportunity for cooperation between Italian and Chinese companies. In short, my expectations are that, by working together, Italy and China will equally benefit from the modernization of Chinese industry," Bertasi said.

Currently, the chamber is devoted to a 2017 pet project to study the program, "Made in China 2025: Opportunities for Italian Companies", to be shared and presented to Italian companies both in China and in Italy.

The effort from the CICC is focused on the promotion of its working groups, he said.

Ten working groups are already in place: aviation and aerospace, energy and environmental protection, food and beverage, healthcare, industry and manufacturing, machinery, service providers, sport, Suzhou and Travel.

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