Premier Li Keqiang on May 16 met with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, who was in Beijing to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
Premier Li said China and Italy are important partners enjoying a traditional friendship. He hoped both nations will take the establishment of prime ministers’ regular meeting mechanism as an opportunity to consolidate political trust, focus on bilateral cooperation in key fields, especially in implementing the China-Italy cooperation action plan for 2017-2020, in order to achieve overall progress by 2020 — the year marking the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations.
Premier Li said China is implementing a strategy of innovation-driven development by promoting entrepreneurship and mass innovation. He said China is willing to strengthen innovation cooperation with Italy, develop the China-Italy innovation strategy toward 2020, to foster new growth drivers for bilateral cooperation.
The Premier called on both sides to strengthen cooperation on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and build related mechanisms and platforms to meet the personalized and diversified needs of consumers.
China is ready to participate in the construction of infrastructure such as ports in Italy, to contribute to interconnectivity with Europe, said the Premier. He called on both nations, as ancient civilizations, to enhance people-to-people exchanges in education, arts and tourism. And he also hoped Italy, as an important member of the European Union, will continue to play an active role in advancing China-Europe ties.
Gentiloni said that with a long history of friendship, Italy and China have increasingly enhanced their cooperation in various fields. Italy is willing to join efforts with China to play the leading role of prime ministers’ regular meeting mechanism, implement the cooperative action plan for 2017-2020, conduct extensive cooperation on SMEs, agriculture and third-party market, and strengthen cooperation on port construction to promote regional interconnectivity.
Italy welcomes more Chinese citizens to travel and study there by offering more convenience for visa applications, said Gentiloni. He said his country is ready to make active efforts to promote the China-Europe relations and facilitate negotiations on a China-Europe investment agreement.
After the meetings, the leaders witnessed the signing of documents on bilateral cooperation in agriculture, finance and other sectors.