The convention “Belt and Road Initiative, business opportunities between Italy and China” focused on those opportunities offered to Italian companies by the new Chinese Silk Road. With more than 200 participants, the event was organised by Dentons, a global law firm, and Italy China Foundation, based in Milan.
The conference was opened with the institutional greetings of Cesare Romiti, President of the Italy China Foundation, and Ettore Francesco Sequi, Italian ambassador in Beijing -attending via videoconference-, and Xuefeng Song, Chinese consul general in Milan.
Romano Prodi, former Italian Prime Minister and President of the European Commission, and current President of the Foundation of Worldwide Cooperation, held a keynote speech about the challenges set by the Belt and Road Initiative and the contextual role of Italy.
Federico Sutti, managing partner at Dentons, moderated the panel dedicated to the financial sector, to which have participated Enzo Quattrociocche, Secretary General of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Sun Min, Head Corporate & Investment Banking ICBC Italy, Massimiliano Cattozzi, Head of Industry Energy & Utilities Intesa Sanpaolo, Andrew Wu, General Manager Dagong Europe.
Concerning the industrial sector, a panel was held by Diao Faming, President of MEP China Metallurgical Engineering & Project Corp, Riccardo Monti, President of Italferr, Edward Chan, CEO Huawei Italy, and Xugang Yu, partner at Dentons Beijing.
Announced in 2013 by Xi Jinping, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been launched in May 2017 during the Beijing Forum in the presence of several foreign Prime Ministers, among whom the Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. The One Belt One Road (OBOR) project aims at relaunching the ancient silk road through the creation of economic corridors from China to Europe, with the involvement of Central Asian countries by land and Southeast Asian countries by sea.
The new Silk Road intend to concern 60% of global GDP, 70% of the world population, and 75% of the known energy reserves. According to predictions, infrastructure investments linked to BRI should amount to $300 billion per year.
The launch of the initiative occurs within a context where China has already changed its economic projections towards foreign countries. Indeed, Chinese investments abroad have been overcoming foreign investments in China since 2015, reaching more than $170 billion in 2016.
[Source: Annual report “China 2017” CeSIF – Italy China Foundation]