Italy and China launched on Monday a strategic "innovation alliance"
aimed at boosting technological exchange and joint research in crucial
sectors including health, energy and "e-government."
The Italy-China Innovation Forum, which stood as the first major
event for the one-year celebrations of the Chinese Culture Year in Italy
marking the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two
countries, was a great opportunity to foster contacts between Chinese
and Italian entrepreneurs and pave way for a strengthened bilateral
The key message of the forum was the need both China and Italy shared
to cooperate in innovation and technology, stretching from health to
"e-government," renewable energy and energy efficiency, high-quality
design and information and communication technology ( ICT).
Organizers of the meeting were Italian Innovation Minister Renato
Brunetta, Chinese Minister for Science and Technology Wan Gang and
Italy's major industrial association, Confindustria.
In front of 250 Italian industrials and 100 Chinese businessmen and
institution representatives, Minister Brunetta proposed to launch an
"innovation alliance" from which both countries could benefit.
"Innovation curbs bureaucracy, allows direct access to services on
internet and simplifies administrative procedures," he said, suggesting
its revolutionary power in increasing a country's global competitiveness
At the forum Brunetta announced the launch of an important agreement
between Italy's Innovation Agency and Beijing's Science and Technology
Commission aimed at creating an Italy-China center for technological
transfer which will focus on stimulating contacts between scientific
parks, technological districts and small enterprises of both countries.
The minister recalled the 250 Italian innovation projects showcased
at the Shanghai Expo, stressing the importance for Italy 's small and
medium enterprises to "exchange knowledge and technology" with Chinese
Confindustria's deputy president Diana Bracco said Italy was looking
forward to further boosting cooperation and trade with China especially
in the fields of innovation and research.
"We can be privileged partners in such strategic areas because we all
know that only those countries able to master technology will secure
for themselves a long-standing economic growth and a sustainable and
wide-spread well-being," she said.
Bracco observed that innovation was radically transforming industry
thanks to the rise of nanotechnologies, new materials, biotechnology and
electronics, and that most enterprises had understood innovation's
strategic role in promoting development on a global scale.
"In the next 5 to 10 years all productive areas will face an
upheaval: technology will allow integration between different sectors
and increase competition," she said.
According to the European Commission's vice president Antonio Tajani,
responsible for industry and entrepreneurship, what China mainly
demands of Italy is cooperation in design and quality.
"If Minister Wan Gang stresses the important issues of design and
quality, it means that the Chinese market especially requires this kind
of Italian innovation and we must therefore increase investments in
these sectors," he added.
But there are many other potential areas on which to focus the
Italy-China innovation cooperation. Four parallel thematic panels were
held to discuss possible partnerships in digital health systems, ICT,
"e-government" and alternative energy sources.
Ennio Lucarelli of Confindustria said the enormous business
opportunities Italian firms had in China with regard to e-health and
"e-government" projects, where Italy was a global leader.
The Italy-China Innovation Forum was the first event listed in the
protocol signed during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Rome in
October to boost bilateral ties.
Other than the Italy-China center for technological transfer
presented by Brunetta, the protocol also envisaged the creation of the
Italy-China center for high-quality design, which aims to support
cultural exchange on intellectual property rights for the global benefit
and competition of both countries, and the Italy- China center for
"e-government" on joint research projects for digitalizing public
The head of the Italy-China Foundation Cesare Romiti, responsible for
creating business contacts between Chinese and Italian firms, also took
part in the forum.