The first encounters between Italians and Chinese stretch back to the middle ages, when Venetian merchants (among whom there was Marco Polo) began opening up trade routes – later known as the ‘silk road’ – with the Celestial Empire. In 2015, Italy and China celebrate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. The Italian government recognised, in fact, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on 6 November 1970, almost five years before the European Community opened diplomatic relations with the PRC (which occurred on 6 May 1975). Beijing and Rome established a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2004. This represents a turning point in bilateral relations. To give meaning and content to the strategic partnership, the two sides set up an inter-ministerial committee – led by each country’s Minister for Foreign Affairs – which has been the focal point for coordinating bilateral relations over the last decade.
Key priorities for Italy
Improving bilateral economic ties
Promoting cooperation and political dialogue on global issues
Supporting scientific and technological collaboration
Fostering cultural exchanges, tourism and the ‘Italian lifestyle’
Focus on investments
Key challenges for Italy-China relations