China, Italy pledge to further cooperation

2012-12-03 13:10:11 GMT2012-12-03 21:10:11(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

PALERMO, Italy, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- China and Italy have pledged to deepen cooperation in a variety of areas and further their comprehensive strategic partnership.

Top Chinese political advisor Jia Qinglin made the pledges during meetings with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, Prime Minister Mario Monti, Senate President Renato Schifani and Chamber of Deputies President Gianfranco Fini.

Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), started his visit to Italy last Tuesday and left Monday for Costa Rica.

During his meeting with Napolitano, Jia said China is willing to work with Italy to deepen cooperation in such areas as science and technology, environmental protection, and creative designs to better serve the development of both countries.

Jia suggested that China and Italy take the success of holding "Culture Year" in each country as an opportunity to promote exchanges and cooperation in literature, the media and heritage conservation and to contribute to global diversity and intercultural exchanges.

Jia made a five-point proposal on developing China-Italy relations when meeting with Monti.

Firstly, the two countries should implement their three-year action plan for economic cooperation and move faster to formulate a new three-year plan, Jia said.

Secondly, China and Italy should expand mutual investment. China encourages its firms to expand investment in Italian industries, logistics, infrastructure, finance, science and technology, Jia said.

China hopes Italy can further relax its investment restrictions, improve investment facilitation and create a fair and just environment for Chinese enterprises, he added.

Thirdly, the two countries should strengthen exchanges between their small- and medium-sized companies in the innovation sector, promote the establishment of joint laboratories and enterprise incubators, as well as expand cooperation in the hi-tech field, Jia said.

Fourthly, the two sides should deepen cooperation in environmental protection and explore new cooperation patterns, he said.

Fifthly, the two countries should boost people-to-people and cultural exchanges, promote tourism and increase the number of exchange students to enhance mutual understanding and bilateral friendship, Jia said.

At a dinner banquet attended by more than 200 officials and entrepreneurs of both countries, Jia said bilateral trade ties have been growing steadily since China and Italy set up their comprehensive strategic partnership in 2004.

Italy is now China's fifth largest trading partner within the European Union (EU), while China is Italy's biggest trading partner in Asia, Jia said.

China and Italy share broad economic complementarity. Italy is a leading nation in technology and innovation, while China has strong advantages in terms of labor, capital and market, he said.

He urged the two sides to promote a balanced growth of two-way trade, saying China will expand its importation of Italy's fashion goods, agricultural products and precision instruments. He also hoped Italy could help relax EU's restriction on exporting high-tech products to China.

Jia hoped that Italian investors could increase their investment in environment preservation and other sectors in China concerning sustainable development.

The two countries should also step up their cooperation in clean energy, creative designs, commodity circulation, service outsourcing and infrastructure, as well as exchanges between the two nations' small- and medium-sized companies, he said.

China also supports its construction enterprises in participating in Italy's infrastructure projects in such ways as structural funds, project bonds, shareholding and joint contracting, Jia said.

The two countries, both at a new stage of socioeconomic development, have the will and confidence to further cement bilateral ties, Jia said during his meeting with Schifani, urging the two sides to expand and deepen their cooperation in various fields.

The CPPCC, he said, plays an important part in China's politics, and attaches great importance to exchanging experiences with the Italian Senate in the participation of national governance.

Jia noted that the CPPCC is willing to maintain communication with the Italian Senate at various levels and through all channels so as to promote mutual understanding, broaden consensus and contribute to the development of relations between the two countries.

During his meeting with Fini, Jia said the Chinese government attaches great importance to the development of friendly relations with Italy, and devotes itself to deepening practical cooperation with Italy in all fields.

Under the current circumstances, it is of great significance to strengthen the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries, he added.

Jia made some suggestions on developing the Sino-Italian relations:

First, the two countries should continue to promote high-level exchanges and political mutual trust. He hoped Italy can understand and support China on issues of its core concerns.

Second, China and Italy should promote mutual benefits and practical cooperation.

The two sides should encourage their enterprises to tap potential and search for new areas and ways of cooperation.

Third, the two countries should boost cultural cooperation and exchanges.

They should take full advantage of their rich cultural resources, further expand exchanges in artistic performances and exhibitions, and strengthen their exchanges and cooperation in such fields as film and video program production, journalism and communications.

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