Forging stronger Sino-Italian ties
Updated: 2011-06-02 08:01
By Yang Cheng (China Daily)
President Hu Jintao met with visiting Italian President Giorgio Napolitano in October last year. Li Tao / Xinhua
Italian Ambassador Attilio Massimo Iannucci with the new Fiat 500 on display at the embassy. Provided to China Daily
Ambassador Iannucci: Range of initiatives to boost business and bonds
BEIJING - Italy envisions stronger ties with China and a higher-profile image among Chinese people, the recently appointed Italian ambassador said.
While China and Italy have witnessed strong development in bilateral trade - reaching $45 billion last year - Ambassador Attilio Massimo Iannucci said he is confident the figure will double by 2015.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy and its 65th National Day.
"I will be committed to changing Chinese people's mindset about Italy and improving bilateral and diplomatic ties," the ambassador noted before the Italy's National Day on June 2.
He said the biggest change after World War II and the founding of the modern nation was the evolution of family enterprises - which are now strong small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
It is not widely known that nearly 55 percent of Italy's exports to China are from SMEs, the ambassador noted.
The Chinese are aware of Italy's leadership in luxury brands, fashion and design, and he now expects machinery and agricultural products will become more widely known.
"Also not well known in China is that Italy invented such things as plastics and mp3 audio," he said.
The ambassador, who took his post in late December, said he will redouble efforts to increase the profile of Italian products in the country as part of his ambition to enhance national branding.
To celebrate Italy's National Day, a reception on June 1 displaying two Fiat 500 cars, a Vespa Piaggio motorcycle and the airplane model of the new Beijing-Rome Alitalia flight was held at the embassy attended by prominent Chinese officials.
Iannucci plans to use the new Fiat 500 as his official car for a week and the Vespa motorcycle in September.
In the coming autumn, the Italian embassy will become "green", with electricity and heating all generated by solar power. Renovation is now underway to make embassy a showcase for Italy's environmental protection achievements.
The ambassador has also led efforts by the embassy and consulates in China to offer more visas to Chinese businesspeople and tourists, with the number issued growing by 50 percent each month.
Another practical measure was formulation of the first long-term visa program for Chinese businesspeople that began early this year.
At Easter, an unexpected large number of Chinese visited Venice, he said.
The ambassador is also encouraging more Chinese investment in Italy.
He said he expects more mergers like Zoomlion's recent acquisition of Italian machinery company CIFA.
Other deals include the purchase of motorcycle manufacturer Benelli and sportswear maker Tacchini by Chinese firms, he noted.
"I will also enhance dialog between the two countries," the ambassador said, noting the Italy-China Government Committee established in May 2004 plays an important role in the effort.
He said he is committed to facilitating dialog between the two nations on a bilateral level and on global issues including the reform of the UN Security Council, economic global governance, regional crises and peacekeeping.
Right today Italy has the honor to warmly host Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping.
Talks at the highest level will encourage a large-scale convergence through which the strategic nature between Rome and Beijing can be consolidated.
Last October, China and Italy signed 17 documents on cooperation in justice, culture, science, technology and environmental protection.
Two centers, on design at Tongji University in Shanghai and on technological transfer in Beijing, have been recently inaugurated by Minister Wang Gang and Minister Renato Brunetta.
Several other environmental plans are in the pipeline and governments from the two sides have sent officials to join training in the field of justice field. As well, the Chinese Year of Culture is now underway in Italy.
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