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AMBASSADOR'S SPEECH AT ASPEN INSTITUTE ITALIA
驻意大利使馆
2014/07/04
 

Dear President Tremonti,

Dear President Romiti,

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

 

Good evening! I feel very much delighted to attend tonight's event. Aspen Institute Italia is one of the most authoritative and prestigious research institute in Italy. It is committed to promoting exchange of views among countries and groups which have different cultural background and social institutions, and probes into actual challenges faced by the international community. It has made many contributions by providing profound insight and suggestions. In December of 2010, the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, Aspen Institute Italia and American Aspen Strategy Group jointly held a China, EU, U.S. trialogue in Beijing. It was a successful academic exchange and cooperation between Chinese and Italian think tanks, and raised great attention among research institutions abroad.

The main responsibilities of think tanks are putting forward concepts and providing solutions. The world today is undergoing significant changes which have never happened before. World multipolarization and economic globalization are developing in depth and bringing numerous new challenges to the international community. Facing these changes and challenges, China and Italy, as two outstanding representatives of eastern and western civilizations, should give full play to our history and cultural advantages, contribute our wisdom. Strengthening communication and cooperation between Chinese and Italian think tanks could provide more advices and suggestions to promote the China-Italy and China-EU relationships, and propose more effective concepts and measures to build a vigorous and harmonious world.

Our friends present here may already know that, at our Prime minister Li Keqiang's invitation, Prime minister Renzi visited China last month. Mr. Renzi met our President Xi Jinping, Prime minister Li Keqiang and Chairman of the NPC Zhang Dejiang respectively. The two governments issued a new China-Italy Three-Year Action Plan for enhancing economic cooperation. We have planned for future cooperation in the wide area of trade, industry, mutual investment, finance, business travel and tourism, technology and innovation, we have defined environment protection and renewable energy, agriculture, sustainable urbanization, food, drug and health, aerospace as 5 key areas of cooperation. Mr. Li Keqiang and Mr. Renzi attended and delivered speeches during the inaugural meeting of China-Italy entrepreneurs committee and the China-Italy economic and trade cooperation forum. The two sides also signed many cooperation agreements. Mr. Renzi's visit further enhanced the level of our relations, opened up new cooperation fields, and consolidated the foundation of our friendship.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Italy assumed the rotating presidency of EU yesterday. Italy is an important member of EU, making China-Italy relationship the leading position in China-EU relations is not only our leaders' strong desire, but could also provide a strong pillar for deepening our bilateral cooperation. Last March, President Xi Jinping visited Europe, and proposed to bond China and Europe, the two big powers, two big markets, two great civilizations together to forge four major partnerships for peace, growth, reform and civilization between China and EU. This initiative will guide and speed up China-EU cooperation, lead China-EU relations towards a mature and stable, mutually beneficial and win-win, mutual learning direction, and add new strategic significance to China-EU relations. Mr. Renzi said during his visit, "Italy will play its own advantages, introduce fruitful pragmatic cooperation between us actively, and continue to push forward the China-EU relations of friendship and cooperation. I believe that under the joint efforts of the two governments and our people, the comprehensiveness and significance of China-EU relations will further enhance."

Ladies and gentlemen,

This year is the tenth anniversary of the establishment of China-Italy comprehensive strategic partnership, next year is the 45th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations, the sino-Italian relations have come to a new starting point. Nowadays, China is starting a new round of reform with greater political courage and wisdom, opening wider to the outside, broadening the access, constructing Shanghai free trade zone, building a new system of the open economy, expanding domestic consumption.

We set the 2014 GDP growth target at about 7.5 percent, and plan to import more than 10 trillion U.S. dollars over the next five years and invest 500 billion U.S. dollars overseas. At the same time, we will still adhere to the positive and effective utilization of foreign capital, open service sectors wider, build fair competition environment for both domestic and foreign business enterprises, and make China continue to be the first choice for foreign investment. We will stabilize and improve the export policy, accelerate the reform of customs clearance, expand the cross-border e-commerce pilot projects, implement incentive import policies, and increase import of products which are in short in China.

At the rapid advancement of China's industrialization, urbanization and informatization, China will release huge market potential of its 1.3 billion consumers. This will provide more opportunities for all countries around the world, including Italy. Italy is a manufacturing powerhouse with advanced technology, outstanding techniques and high-quality products. The high degree of complementarities between China's development needs and Italy's excellent manufacturing system determines an increasing number of mutual interests and broader cooperative space. As long as the two sides are in line with the open spirit of equality and mutual benefit, we will be able to achieve win-win cooperation. As mentioned in the Three-Year Action Plan, the two sides should work together to focus on promoting cooperation in the following five areas in the future:

1. First, Trade. There is great potential for economic and trade exchanges between China and Italy. In 2013, bilateral trade volume reached 43.3 billion U.S. dollars with an increase of 3.9 percent, among which China's import from Italy up by 9.4 percent. In the first quarter of 2014, Italy's import from China reached 6.31 billion U.S. dollars with an increase of 4.9 percent, while Italy's export to China reached 4.46 billion U.S. dollars with an increase of 13.7 percent. In the future both sides should remain committed to promote bilateral trade in goods and services so as to achieve steady growth. The two sides should also work together to accelerate the realization of a balanced bilateral trade through active participation of central and local administrative bodies of the two countries.

2. Secondly, Industrial and Investment. In recent years, a number of Chinese companies have invested in Italy and have achieved rapid development. Meanwhile they have also brought capital and market to Italian enterprises, and created a lot of jobs for Italian people. By the end of 2013, 94 Companies from mainland China and 54 Groups from Hongkong have invested or taken share of 272 Italian enterprises, and that involving 12 thousands employees and 5.7 billion Euros' revenue. Meanwhile, the Italian investment projects in China have exceeded 5000 and the real investment is over 6 billion U.S. dollars. Next, the two sides should tap the resources of SMEs, provide a platform for information exchange and explore the potential for cooperation, so as to achieve more results in pragmatic cooperation. China will encourage more capable Chinese enterprises to invest in Italy. I hope that the Italian side could facilitate and support for Chinese enterprises to invest in Italy.

3.Thirdly, Financial cooperation. Now Italy's SACE(Servizi Assicurativi del Commercio Estero) Insurance Company has signed a cooperation agreement with China Merchants Bank and China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation. I hope that this model of cooperation can be widely promoted, since it could increase the opportunities for Italian enterprises that intend to open business in China to obtain loans. We should facilitate by law the setting up of bank branches of both country and also provide convenience to existing financial institutions that are already operating fully. We should strengthen the dialogue between the two central banks and financial regulators in the bilateral and multilateral levels. Through these ways we could push financial services to make a greater contribution to economic development of our own countries.

4. Fourthly, Business and Tourist visits. In recent years, the numbers of tourists between the two countries have increased significantly, which bears great significance in promoting bilateral economic development and increasing the mutual understanding and friendship between the peoples. The opening of Consulate General of Italy in Chongqing further narrowed down the distance between China's western provinces with Italy. Currently Italy is stepping up preparations for the Expo Milano 2015. It is expected that there will be more Chinese tourists visiting Italy then. The Chinese side sees the Expo as an important opportunity to further promote mutual understanding and expand comprehensive cooperation with Italy. We hope to take this opportunity to further increase mutual benefits and facilitate two-way business and tourism exchanges.

5. Fifthly, Technological Innovation. China sees Italy as an important partner of science and technology in the EU. The two sides have built three centers for technology transfer, design innovation and e-government. The technology transfer center which started from more than a year ago has already facilitated more than 50 projects. The environmental cooperation between the two countries achieved remarkable results. The two sides have set up Sino Italian Facility (SIF) for energy and environment to fund many projects which not only have helped China to improve the environmental management capabilities, but also led many Italian environment companies to develop the Chinese market and achieve very positive results. The future cooperative space of technological Innovation between the two countries is huge. The cooperation will not only achieve mutual benefit and win-win results for the two countries, but also provide important support to the sustainable development of bilateral relations.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I believe that both China and Italy will seize the opportunities of October's ASEM Summit in Milan and Expo Milano 2015 to further strengthen the exchange of experience in governance, and to deepen pragmatic cooperation in various fields such as trade, investment, technology innovation, and culture. I also hope that the Aspen Institute could be even bolder and more far-sighted than great messengers such as Marco Polo and Matteo Ricci to further expand academic exchanges and cooperation with Chinese institutes and schools, and to make joint efforts in promoting China-Italy and China-EU relations to go more steady, faster and farther.

Thank you!
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