Friuli Venezia Giulia is a strategic outpost for the Silk Road and for the economic relations between Europe and China and Italy and the great Asian country. This was the key theme of the "Belt and Road Forum" held on March 26th in the Palazzo della Regione in Trieste.
The event was organized by the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region with the Council for the promotion of the international trade (Ccpit) and the China Chamber of International Commerce (Ccoic), the two Chinese government agencies for the promotion of trade and international exchanges, together to the Italy China Foundation and the Italian Chinese Chamber of Commerce, with the support of the InCe (Central European Initiative), of the Authority of the Eastern Adriatic Sea ports system and Unido.
The morning was dedicated to greetings and institutional interventions and experts, and was the occasion for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Italy-China Foundation, the Italian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Chongqing Sub-Council. The collaboration agreement was signed within the Silk Road Business Council, with the aim of improving economic and commercial relations and promoting cooperation in the field of investments between Chongqing companies and Italian companies, with particular attention to the collaboration between small and medium-sized businesses. In the afternoon, over 60 B2B meetings were organized, which saw the protagonists of the territory and the Chinese delegation present at the event.
The Forum follows a process of progressive intensification of Italian-Chinese relations that has had a salient point in the project "Belt and Road Initiative" (Bri), launched for the first time by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 with the aim of integrating Asia and Europe and subsequently implemented in a framework not only economic but institutional and cultural. Trieste and Genoa have been declared the doors of the Silk Road and Friuli Venezia Giulia has obtained a privileged position as the only Italian region present at the "Belt and Road Forum" in Beijing in May 2017 and protagonist of an institutional mission in China last December .
At the beginning of the Forum, it was noted that Friuli Venezia Giulia, as part of the Central European economic system, represents a strategic territory for Chinese interlocutors on which to direct its activities and investments. In 2017, regional exports to China increased from over 262 million in the previous year to around 282 million euros and imports increased by 514 million euros to 535 million euros. These performances, according to the Region, can grow thanks to some special advantages: the position of Friuli Venezia Giulia in the heart of Europe, the extradoganality regime of the port of Trieste, the strategy to support the competitiveness of the industrial system ensured by the RilancimpresaFVG reform, the solid research and innovation system made up of universities and parks and the presence of over 200 innovative startups.
Moreover, as was noted by the Municipality of Trieste, the Julian port is the first in Italy for traffic volumes, thanks to oil, and has the national record in railway movements. "We have worked and sowed a lot", said the president of the Eastern Adriatic Sea Port Authority Zeno D'Agostino, who recalled his frequent missions to China. According to D'Agostino, "today's Forum has reached a crucial moment in which, in relations with China, there are institutional dynamics and commercial and logistical dynamics".
"We warmly welcome the companies of Friuli Venezia Giulia to expand the Chinese market". The importance that Beijing attaches to the "Belt and Road Forum" in Trieste, organized in the Palazzo della Regione, was highlighted by Xu Xiaofeng, minister advisor of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Italy.
Xu outlined a scenario marked by China's desire to build, with the Silk Road, "a new band of global collaboration" within the general objective of preserving free trade and an open world community. Cooperation, economy and tolerance taking into account the interests of both parties, these are the key words of Xu. Commitments reinforced by the South South strategy and the triangular cooperation Unido, coordinated by Gong Weixi. Last September in Vienna, organized by Unido, the Silk Road strategy had declined in its commitment to support green economies in cities. "We want to have a collaboration with Friuli Venezia Giulia", said Gong and "the port of Trieste in the South South strategy is very, very important".
On the part of the representative of the Italian government, in turn, the precise choice of sos was pointed out at the Forum keeping exports to Asia and China, quadrupling the resources involved, compared to mature markets such as Europe and the USA. This is because the potential of China, which aims to acquire resources in technology, creativity and live well, can make it possible to triple Italian exports over the next three years. The development, according to the representative of the Government, must take place in conditions of balance and reciprocity and can find a privileged line between the special Chinese economic zones and the free port of Trieste.