August 21, 2018 - Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) has announced today the launch of the Task Force China, an initiative by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Economic Development Hon. Di Maio and the Under Secretary of State for Trade and Foreign Investment Prof. Geraci.
The Task Force – which follows last year’s State visit in China by the President of the Republic Mattarella - represents a mechanism of cooperation and dialogue between Government, businesses and society and has the mandate to develop a new national strategy aimed at strengthening Italy’s economic and trade relationships with China.
Operating within the guidelines set by MISE and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MAECI) , the Task Force will work together with the Ministries of Economy and Finance, Interior, Education, Transport and Infrastructure, Culture and Agriculture and Tourism, and will be coordinated by Under Secretary Geraci, relying on the contributions, know-how and output of MISE and MAECI, as well as the inputs from the annual Yanqi Lake retreats organised by the Italian Embassy in Beijing.
Among the Task Force’s main objectives that of strengthening the relationship between China and Italy (in the fields of trade, finance, investment, R&D and co-operation in third countries), and that of guaranteeing Italy a position of leadership in Europe vis-à-vis China’s Belt and Road and Made in China 2025 initiatives.
The speed of China’s economic transformation is questioning most traditional economic development theories and the traditional bilateral approach. The Task Force is intended to build a new analytical framework and operational mechanism capable of keeping pace with China’s development, as to avoid becoming passive onlookers of the shift towards the East of the world’s economic center.
In the words of Under Secretary Geraci "The change that the Italian Government wants to achieve – in a harmonious spirit of consultation with all stakeholders - passes through the establishment of this innovative forum for analysis and policy action, which will be able to provide shared and well-informed responses in our dialogue with China. This country - which has launched the ambitious program of technological progress known as ‘Made in China 2025’ and which also has an immense internal market increasingly focused on quality goods - represents for Italy a risk (being China a direct competitor of our manufacturing sector) and also an opportunity, both in terms of exports and FDI: the time has come for Italy to seize these opportunities and ride the Chinese wave, rather than just standing there watching. In my ten years in China I have discovered that acting individually is a losing strategy with China: it is always more productive to coordinate a systemic approach".
The Task Force, which is being set up in the imminence of the first official mission in China by Under Secretary Geraci at the end of the current month and which is taking place ahead of the two major Autumn exhibitions in Shanghai and Chengdu will be open (like the recently established Free Trade Task Force) to the contributions of all interested parties, including universities and think-tanks. MISE will organize a series of regular meetings, which will discuss specific topics in detail taking into consideration all variables at stake.
Inquiry and contact information
Ministry of Economic Development, Italy