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Italy holds high expectations for ASEM to boost ties with China

Updated: Oct 14,2014 10:10 PM     Xinhua

MILAN -- Experts, scholars and analysts in the Italian business capital have high expectations for the upcoming Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit that they hope will strengthen economic relations between Italy and China.

In a recent interview with Xinhua, Renzo Cavalieri, director of the Master’s program in Global Management for China (GMC) at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, underlined that mutual knowledge is the starting point for economic cooperation.

Cavalieri, who is also an international law professor and lawyer, said he has recently witnessed “unprecedented dynamism” in the commercial dialogue between the two countries, adding that the ASEM summit will help boost this further.

Local institutions and business associations have organized a series of initiatives in complement with the 10th ASEM summit set to take place from Oct 16 to 17.

Premier Li Keqiang and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will participate in the China-Italy Innovation Forum, part of a long-term cooperation program aimed at advancing new partnerships among the countries’ hi-tech companies.

Giuliano Noci, co-organizer of the forum, wished for a “frank, peaceful and collaborative dialogue to take place at the ASEM summit”. Noci, a marketing professor at the Polytechnic University of Milan, expressed hope that the meeting would clarify Europe’s willingness to “put at disposal a certain kind of know-how, but to have easier access to Asian markets in return.”

Noci stressed there is an urgent need for bilateral agreements between Italy and China to “unblock situations that hamper progress in bilateral relations and cause harmful speed bumps,” he told Xinhua.

Another meeting organized in Milan during the ASEM summit is the Asia Europe Business Forum where invited entrepreneurs and officials from the two continents will discuss issues of common interest.

Infrastructure, connectivity, energy efficiency, renewable resources, trade, as well as water and food security will be among the principal topics, Licia Mattioli, co-organizer of the forum said. Mattioli is an entrepreneur and head of the technical committee for internationalization and foreign investors at Confindustria, Italy’s leading industrial organization.

The Italian entrepreneurial world considers Asia “an area with amazing potential of development,” Mattioli said. “We are looking forward to the ASEM summit and related meetings as an occasion to share concrete and focused recommendations,” she told Xinhua.

Paolo Borzatta, director and senior partner of think tank The European House-Ambrosetti, stressed that the Italian business community “has a strong desire to better understand what the concrete cooperation opportunities offered by the ASEM countries are.”

The think tank will co-host the Global China Business Meeting also scheduled next week near Milan.

“Italy has run up a delay in the relations with Asia compared to other European countries such as Germany and France,” Borzatta told Xinhua. “Italy has a presence in that area of the world below it’s potential, but has showed a strong new interest in recent times,” he noted.

The ASEM summit will offer diverse growth opportunities for Italy’s leading industrial sectors such as textile, fashion, food and mechanics, he noted.