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Italy and China Sign Groundbreaking MOU on Belt and Road Initiative

Italy and China Sign Groundbreaking MOU on Belt and Road Initiative

Read the full text of the MOU here.

Italy and China have signed the famous Memorandum of Understanding on Belt and Road cooperation today, together with 10 economic agreements and 18 institutional agreements (19 with the BRI MOU). The MOU (see full text below) is a milestone and is said to already be being studied by other countries that want to follow Italy.

The MOU says at the outset that "The Parties will work together within the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to translate mutual complementary strengths into advantages for practical cooperation and sustainable growth, supporting synergies between the Belt and Road Initiative and priorities identified in the Investment Plan for Europe and the Trans-European Networks, bearing in mind discussions in the EU China Connectivity Platform."

With the MOU, Italy is the first large industrial economy to join the Belt and Road, as Chinese media proudly stress. The signature of the MOU occurred in spite of trans-Atlantic pressures and open hostility by Italy's "partners" in the EU.
Italian Minister for Economic Development Luigi Di Maio, who signed the MOU together with his counterpart He Lifeng, chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, stated that "today is for us a very important day, in which the Made in Italy is winning, Italian firms are winning. We made a step to help our
economy to grow. Italy came first with China."

The economic agreements include: a strategic partnership between the Italian Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and the Bank of China to finance Italian firms in China; a MOU between the Italian oil company ENI and the Bank of China for explorations in China; Ansaldo Energia signed two agreements, one to develop gas turbines with UGTC and another one for the supply of a turbine to Shanghai Electric and Benxi Steel; the Port Authorities of Trieste and Genoa signed an agreement with the construction giant CCCC. Cassa Depositi and the natural gas utility Snam signed a deal with the Silk Road Fund for investments along the Silk Road; the Institute for Foreign Trade signed a deal with Suning to create a platform to promote Italian lifestyle in China; and the Danieli group signed a contract with China Camc Engineering for the construction of a steel plant in Azerbaijan.
The institutional agreements, besides the MOU on the BRI cooperation, include cooperation on innovative startups and electronic trade, as well as cooperation between the two space agencies, agriculture and culture, health and media. (EIRNS)

THE FULL TEXT OF THE MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN CHINA AND ITALY
SIGNED IN ROME ON MARCH 23, 2019

Memorandum of Understanding Between the Governments of the Italian Republic and the Government of the People's Republic of
China, on Cooepration Within the Framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative.

The Government of the Italian Republic and the Government of the Peoples Republic of China (hereinafter referred to as the Parties) based on the aspiration of furthering bilateral practical cooperation;

  • Welcoming the hosting of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing in May 2017;  Recognizing the importance and benefits of improving connectivity between Asia and Europe and the role that the Belt and Road Initiative can play in this respect;
  • Recalling the Joint Communiqué of the Leaders Roundtable of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation; Recalling the Plan of Action for the Strengthening of Economic, Commercial and Cultural-scientific Cooperation between Italy and China 2017-2020 agreed in Beijing in May 2017;
  • Recalling the Joint Communiqué of the 9th Italy-China Inter-Governmental Committee, held in Rome on January 25th, 2019 and the commitment expressed therein to promote the bilateral partnership in a spirit of mutual respect, equity and justice and in a mutually beneficial manner, in the perspective of a strengthened global solidarity;
  • Conscious of the historical common heritage developed through the land and sea routes linking Asia and Europe and of Italy's traditional role as terminal of the maritime Silk Road;
  • Reiterating their commitment to honor the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and to promote inclusive growth and sustainable development, in line with the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the Paris Accord on climate change;
  • Recalling also the objectives set by the EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation and the principles driving the EU Strategy for Connecting Europe and Asia adopted in October
    2018; Have reached the following understanding:

Paragraph I: Objectives and Guiding Principles of Cooperation

  • The Parties will work together within the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to translate mutual complementary strengths into advantages for practical cooperation and sustainable growth, supporting synergies between the Belt and Road Initiative and priorities identified in the Investment Plan for Europe and the Trans-European Networks, bearing in mind discussions in the EU China Connectivity Platform. This will also enable the Parties to enhance their political relations, economic ties, and people-to-people exchanges. The Parties will strengthen cooperation and promote regional connectivity within an open, inclusive and balanced framework beneficial to all, so as to promote regional peace, security, stability and sustainable development.
    • The Parties will promote bilateral cooperation based on the following principles:
      (i) Guided by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter
      the Parties will work for common development and prosperity,
      deepened mutual trust and beneficial cooperation;
      (ii) In accordance with their respective domestic laws and
      regulations, consistent with their respective international
      obligations, the Parties will strive to promote the smooth
      progress of their cooperation projects;
      (iii) The Parties will explore synergies and ensure
      consistency and complementarity with existing bilateral and
      multilateral cooperation mechanisms and regional cooperation
      platforms

Paragraph II: Areas of Cooperation

The Parties will cooperate in the following areas:
Policy dialogue. The Parties will promote synergies and strengthen communication and coordination.

  • They will enhance policy dialogue on connectivity initiatives and technical and regulatory standards.  The Parties will work together within the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to promote connectivity in accordance with the purpose and functions of the Bank.
  • Transport, logistics and infrastructure. Both Parties share a common vision about the improvement of accessible, safe, inclusive and sustainable transport.  The Parties will cooperate in the development of infrastructure connectivity, including financing, interoperability and logistics, in areas of mutual interest (such as roads, railways, bridges, civil aviation, ports, energy including renewables and natural gas - and telecommunications).  The Parties express their interest in developing synergies between the Belt and Road Initiative, the Italian system of transport and infrastructure, such as -inter alia- roads, railways, bridges, civil aviation and ports and the EU Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T).  The Parties welcome the discussions in the framework of the EU-China Connectivity Platform to improve the efficiency of the connectivity between
    Europe and China.
  • The Parties will cooperate in facilitating customs clearance, strengthening co-operation in sustainable, safe and digital transport solutions as well as in their investments and financing. The Parties highlight the importance of open, transparent, and non-discriminatory procurement procedures.
  • Unimpeded trade and investment. The Parties will work towards expanding two-way investment and trade flow, industrial cooperation as well as cooperation in third country markets, exploring ways to promote substantive mutually beneficial cooperation. The Parties reaffirm their shared commitment to free and open trade and investment, to counter excessive macroeconomic imbalances and to oppose unilateralism and protectionism. In the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, they will promote transparent, non-discriminatory, free and open trade and industrial cooperation, an open procurement, level playing field and respect for intellectual property rights. They will explore closer and mutually beneficial collaboration and partnerships, which include advancing North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation.

4. Financial cooperation. The Parties will strengthen the bilateral communication and coordination on fiscal, financial and
structural reform policies in order to create a favorable environment for economic and financial cooperation, also through the establishment of the Italy-China Finance Dialogue between the Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Italian Republic and the Ministry of Finance of the Peoples Republic of China. The Parties will encourage the partnerships between the respective financial institutions to jointly support investment and financing cooperation, at bilateral and multilateral level and towards the third Countries, under the framework of Belt and Road Initiative.

5. People-to-people connectivity. The Parties will endeavor to expand people-to-people exchanges, to develop their sister cities network, to fully utilize the platform of Italy-China Culture Cooperation Mechanism to cooperate for the finalization of the twinning among Italian and Chinese UNESCO world heritage sites, to promote cooperation arrangements on education, culture, science, innovation, health, tourism and public welfare among their respective Administrations. The Parties will promote exchanges and cooperation between their local authorities, media, think tanks, universities and the youth.
6. Green development cooperation. Both Parties are fully supportive of the objective to develop connectivity following a sustainable, environmentally friendly approach, actively promoting the global process towards green, low carbon and circular development. In this spirit, the Parties will cooperate in the field of ecological and environmental protection, climate change and other areas of mutual interest.  The Parties will share ideas about green development and actively promote the
implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Accord on Climate Change. The Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea of the Italian Republic will actively participate the International Coalition for Green Development on the Belt and Road initiated by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment of the Peoples Republic of China and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Paragraph III: Modes of Cooperation

1. Modes of cooperation may include - but are not limited
to:
(i) The exchange of high-level visits and discussions within existing governmental and non-governmental exchange mechanisms. The Parties will expand information-sharing in diverse fields and with multiple channels, to increase transparency and encourage the participation of people from all sectors of society.
(ii) Exploring the development of pilot programs in key areas, economic exchanges and cooperation, joint research, capacity building, personnel exchanges and training.
2. The Parties will explore mutually beneficial models of cooperation to support the implementation of major programs, under the Belt and Road Initiative. The Parties will follow market principles, promote cooperation between public and private capital, encourage investment and financing support through diversified models. Both Parties reiterate their engagement towards investments which are socially and environmentally sustainable and economically viable.
3. The Parties will jointly explore opportunities of cooperation in Italy and in China and discuss cooperation in third Countries. The Parties are committed to modes of cooperation that are advantageous to all participants and to projects that benefit third Countries by supporting their priorities in terms of development and the needs of their people, in a fiscally, socially, economically and environmentally sound and sustainable manner.
4. The relevant Authorities of the Parties may conclude arrangements for collaboration in specific sectorial fields and
for the creation of specific cooperation frameworks.

Paragraph IV: Cooperation Mechanism

The Parties will make full use of existing bilateral mechanisms to develop cooperation in the framework of the Belt
and Road Initiative. The Italy-China Government Committee will be used to monitor progress and follow up.

Paragraph V: Settlement of Differences

The Parties will settle amicably differences in the interpretation of this Memorandum of Understanding through direct consultations.

Paragraph VI: Applicable Law

This Memorandum of Understanding does not constitute an international agreement which may lead to rights and obligations
under international law. No provision of this Memorandum is to be understood and performed as a legal or financial obligation or commitment of the Parties. This Memorandum of Understanding will be interpreted in accordance with the legislations of the Parties and as well as applicable international law and, as for the Italian Party, with the obligations arising from its membership of the European Union.

***

This Memorandum of Understanding takes effect on the date of signature.

This Memorandum of Understanding will remain valid for a period of five years and will be automatically extended for subsequent five-year periods and so forth unless terminated by either Party by giving the other Party a written notice at least three months in advance. Signed in Rome on March, 2019, in two originals, each in the Italian, English and Chinese languages, all texts being equally
authentic. In case of divergence of interpretation, the text in English will prevail. For the Government of the Italian Government, Luigi di Maio For the Government of the People's Republic of China,  He Lifeng

Hussein Askary

Hussein Askary

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