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Relations between China and Italy

【Review of Bilateral Political Relations】

On November 30, 1964, China and Italy signed an agreement on the mutual establishment of private business representative offices in Rome, and in early 1965 the two sides exchanged business representatives. On November 6, 1970, the two countries formally established diplomatic relations. In June 1985, the two countries established consulate generals in Milan and Shanghai respectively. In June 1998, China set up a consulate general in Florence, and in November, Italy set up a consulate general in Guangzhou. In 2014, Italy set up a consulate general in Chongqing.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries in various fields have developed smoothly. In 2004, the two countries established a comprehensive strategic partnership. In recent years, high-level mutual visits between the two countries have increased, political mutual trust has been continuously strengthened, and bilateral relations have been further developed. In recent years, the main leaders of China's visits to Italy include: President Xi Jinping (in 2011, he visited Italy as vice-president and attended the "150th anniversary of the unification of Italy" celebration, transited Sardinia in 2016, and paid a state visit in 2019), the State Council Premier Li Keqiang (2014), Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Secretary of the Political and Legal Committee of the CPC Central Committee Meng Jianzhu (2014), Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Zhang Ping (2014), Vice Premier Wang Yang (2015), Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Wan Gang, Chen Xiaoguang (2016), Vice Premier Ma Kai (2017), State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (2019, 2020), etc. Italian leaders visiting China include: Prime Minister Berlusconi (2003, 2008), Prime Minister Prodi (2006), President Napolitano (2010), Prime Minister Monti (2012), Prime Minister Renzi (2014), Senate President Grasso (2015), President Mattarella (2017), Foreign Minister Di Maio (2018, 2019), etc. In 2016, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi attended the G20 Hangzhou Summit. In 2017, Italian Prime Minister Gentiloni came to China to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. In 2019, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte came to China to attend the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Italy. President Xi Jinping agreed with President Mattarella to have a telephone conversation. Premier Li Keqiang and State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi agreed respectively that Prime Minister Conte and Foreign Minister Di Maio exchange congratulatory messages. In May 2021, Premier Li Keqiang agreed to a phone call with Prime Minister Draghi. In September 2021, President Xi Jinping agreed to a phone call with Prime Minister Draghi.

【Bilateral economic and trade relations and investment cooperation】

At present, Italy is China's fourth largest trading partner in the EU, and China is Italy's largest trading partner in Asia. In 2021, the bilateral trade volume will be US$73.95 billion, a year-on-year increase of 34%. China's exports to Italy were US$43.63 billion, down 32.5% year-on-year, and imports were US$30.32 billion, up 36.3% year-on-year. From January to April 2022, the bilateral trade volume will reach US$26.07 billion, a year-on-year increase of 15.5%. Among them, China's export to Italy was 17.26 billion US dollars, a year-on-year increase of 37.7%; its import from Italy was 8.8 billion US dollars, a year-on-year decrease of 12.2%. My main export commodities to Italy are: clothing and clothing accessories, textile yarns, fabrics and products, footwear, travel supplies and luggage, cashmere, toys, automatic data processing equipment and its components, plastic products, pharmaceuticals, etc. The main imported goods from Italy are: textile machinery, animal leather, television picture tubes, metal processing machine tools, rubber or plastic processing machinery, pharmaceuticals, tobacco processing machinery, molds and metal casting boxes, televisions, radios and radio communication equipment The spare parts, measurement, testing and analysis automatic control instruments and appliances, etc.

In recent years, Chinese enterprises and financial institutions have actively participated in the privatization process of Italy, and have agreed to conduct good cooperation through mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, etc. The main projects include: Zoomlion's 271 million euro acquisition of the world's third largest concrete machinery manufacturer Italian CIFA Group (2008), Shandong Heavy Industry (Weichai Group) acquired 75% stake in Ferretti Yachting Company for 374 million euros (2012), and China National Petroleum Corporation acquired Eni Group for $4.2 billion ) 28.57% equity of East Africa Company (2013), State Grid spent 2.101 billion euros to acquire 35% equity of CDP RETI, a wholly-owned energy network subsidiary of Italian Depository Bank (2014), Shanghai Electric acquired 400 million euros of the world’s fourth largest gas turbine manufacturer 40% stake in Italian Ansaldo Energy Company (2014), ChemChina acquired 26.2% stake in Italian Pirelli for EUR 7.1 billion (2015), Suning Holding Group Co., Ltd. acquired 70% stake in Inter Milan for EUR 270 million ( 2016).

【Bilateral cooperation in the fields of culture, science and technology, education, police and justice, etc.】

In 1978, the two countries signed the Sino-Italian intergovernmental agreement on scientific and technological cooperation and established the Sino-Italian Joint Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation. In November 2010, the first China-Italy Innovation Cooperation Forum was held in Rome, which was later renamed China-Italy Innovation Cooperation Week. In February 2017, the two sides signed the "China-Italy Strategic Plan for Scientific and Technological Innovation Cooperation for 2020". In February 2018, the "Zhangheng-1" electromagnetic monitoring experimental satellite jointly developed by China and Italy was successfully launched. President Xi Jinping and President Mattarella jointly sent congratulations. In March 2019, the competent science and technology departments of the two countries signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Strengthening Cooperation in Science and Technology Innovation between China and Italy.

China and Italy have close exchanges and cooperation in the fields of culture and education. From October 2010 to February 2012, the "Chinese Culture Year" was successfully held in Italy. In June 2014, the Ministries of Culture of the two countries signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Establishing a Cultural Cooperation Mechanism, and held the first plenary meeting of the Sino-Italian Cultural Cooperation Mechanism in February 2017. In March 2019, during President Xi Jinping's visit to Italy, the two sides held the second plenary meeting of the China-Italy Cultural Cooperation Mechanism. From April to June 2019, the "Return - Italy's Return of China's Lost Cultural Relics Exhibition" was held at the National Museum of China. The two sides have been concerned about cooperating to establish 12 Confucius Institutes and 39 Confucius Classrooms. So far, China and Italy have established 85 pairs of sister provinces, cities and regions.

The two sides have good cooperation in law enforcement and security. The China-Italy Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and the China-Italy Treaty on Extradition came into effect in August and December 2015, respectively, laying a legal foundation for China-Italy judicial enforcement and cooperation in anti-corruption, fugitive recovery, and asset recovery. In 2015, Italy agreed to extradite economic crime suspects to China, the first of its kind in a European country. The competent authorities of the two countries also signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Joint Police Patrols between China and Italy, and officially started joint patrols in May 2016. So far, 4 rounds of joint police patrols have been held in Italy and 3 rounds of joint police patrols have been held in China.

【Important bilateral agreements and documents】

Sino-Italian Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Two Countries (November 1970)

Sino-Italian Cultural Cooperation Agreement, Sino-Italian Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement (October 1978)

Protocol on Sino-Italian Space Science and Technology Cooperation (March 1984)

Sino-Italian Consular Treaty (June 1986)

Sino-Italian Treaty on Civil Judicial Assistance (May 1991)

Sino-Italian Economic Cooperation Agreement (May 1991)

Agreement between China and Italy on Cooperation in the Peaceful Use and Research of Space (July 1991)

Sino-Italian Cooperation Agreement on Combating Crime (April 2001)

Sino-Italian Joint Communiqué on Establishing Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (May 2004)

Sino-Italian Joint Statement on the Establishment of the Sino-Italian Government Committee (May 2004)

Sino-Italian Intellectual Property Cooperation Agreement (June 2004)

Memorandum of Understanding on Sino-Italian Aviation Industry Cooperation (June 2004)

Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Higher Education Academic Degrees between China and Italy (July 2005)

Sino-Italian Joint Statement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (November 2008)

Sino-Italian Joint Statement on Hosting the "Chinese Culture Year" in 2010 (July 2009)

China-Italy Investment Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding (July 2009)

Memorandum of Understanding on Sino-Italian High-Tech Cooperation (July 2009)

Memorandum of Understanding on China-Italy Tourism Cooperation (July 2009)

Sino-Italian Extradition Treaty (2010)

China-Italy Criminal Judicial Assistance Treaty (2010)

China-Italy Three-Year Action Plan on Strengthening Economic Cooperation (October 2010)

China-Italy Three-Year Action Plan 2014-2016 on Strengthening Economic Cooperation (June 2014)

Memorandum of Understanding on Establishing Cultural Cooperation Mechanism between China and Italy (June 2014)

Joint Statement on China-Italy Environmental Partnership (October 2014)

China-Italy 2015-2019 Cultural Cooperation Implementation Plan (April 2015)

Joint document of the seventh joint meeting of the China-Italy Government Committee (May 2016)

Action Plan between China and Italy on Strengthening Economic, Trade, Cultural and Scientific and Technological Cooperation (2017-2020) (May 2017)

Joint Document of the Eighth Joint Meeting of the China-Italy Government Committee (December 2017)

China-Italy Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Third-Party Markets (September 2018)

Joint document of the ninth joint meeting of the China-Italy Government Committee (January 2019)

China-Italy Joint Communiqué on Strengthening Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (March 2019)

Memorandum of Understanding between China and Italy on Jointly Promoting the Construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (March 2019)

Joint Document of the 10th Joint Meeting of the China-Italy Government Committee (December 2020)

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs - - 06/2022


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