Italy, China sign memorandum of understanding.

MILAN — The relationship between Italy and China is becoming stronger.

As part of People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping’s visit to Italy last week, the latter has signed along with Italy’s Minister of Economic Development Luigi Di Maio a memorandum of understanding setting the common goals for the development of the two countries’ trade and economic relationship.

Modeled after the parameters set by the 2017 “Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation” held in Beijing and the EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation, the agreement is aimed at promoting the “regional connectivity within an open, inclusive and balanced framework beneficial to all, so as to promote regional peace, security, stability and sustainable development,” the memorandum — available on the web site of the Ministry of Economic Development, or MISE — reads.

Both countries have agreed upon setting a mutual dialogue on political choices; implementing infrastructures, transportations and logistics to enhance custom operations for both countries’ goods; boosting trade as well as commercial and financial investments on both sides; favoring the people-to-people connection to increase the cultural exchange and cooperating on common environmental benchmarks.

Encompassing 29 deals, the memorandum of understanding includes 19 institutional agreements, as well as 10 deals between Italian and Chinese companies. The former category includes a deal on e-commerce operations both in Italy and China to facilitate the cooperation between small and medium-size enterprises and online shopping platforms, while on the companies’ front, Italy’s trade agency ICE and Group Co., Ltd. have agreed to create an integrated platform to promote the “Italian lifestyle” in China.

“Italy’s government has selected a transparent approach toward China and our European-Atlantic partners, framing our bilateral relationships within the principles that have traditionally inspired and will keep inspiring our international action,” Di Maio said. “To this end, we already set in motion a meticulous monitoring of each initiative of collaboration to be kicked off in the wake of today’s inked deals to guarantee that they are always promoted putting the safeguard of national interests and strategic infrastructures at the center, avoiding the conveyance of technologies in sensitive sectors,” he added.

The MISE has also designated the creation of the Task Force Italy-China to promote the fulfillment of the agreements.

As part of the deal, both countries have also stressed the importance of fighting for the “safeguard of intellectual property,” as a statement issued jointly by Italy and China’s governments reads.

As reported, according to two reports issued the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, and Indicam, Italy’s institute fighting against counterfeiting for the protection of intellectual property rights, the value of counterfeit and pirated Italian goods sold worldwide in 2016 totaled 32 billion euros, equivalent to 3.6 percent of global Italian manufacturing sales.

To this end, a number of actions to protect Made in Italy are being evaluated by the country’s parliament as part of a draft law submitted last February by Italy’s right-wing Lega [League] party.

The draft law proposes the creation of a mark issued by the government to guarantee an item is actually Made in Italy, thus fighting against the “Italian-sounding” phenomenon; the establishment of a register gathering storied companies with more than 50 years of history, to compel the brands’ owners to keep the original sites of production open in order to maintain the right to use the brand’s name, as well as the commitment to find a new owner for those investors aiming to relocate production abroad.

The measures could be included in the so-called “growth decree” to be approved by Italy’s government before the end of March.

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