China and Italy should deepen cooperation in high technology and innovation, Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang said on Monday at the Italy-China Innovation Forum in Milan.
"Technology innovation is one of the topics receiving the most attention in our world today, and it is a highlight of the bilateral cooperation between China and Italy," Wang said, noting current cooperation between the two countries in manufacturing, craftsmanship, new energy, aerospace and research and development.
"Cooperation between our countries in these fields is not just focusing on doing business, but also includes the exchange of knowledge and exchange of staff," he said.
Wang said that cooperation between China and Italy has great government support, and will bring many benefits for both countries in solving future problems.
In discussing future cooperation, Wang singled out five areas: cooperation in strategically important sectors; increasing small and medium-sized business cooperation, increasing regional cooperation and advancing cooperation platforms.
First, Wang said, cooperation between the two countries should be placed within the bigger picture of strategic directions and objectives that each of the two countries hopes to achieve, so that cooperation will receive more attention and support from the public and private sectors.
Second, he said that China and Italy should further enhance cooperation in strategically important sectors, such as aerospace and environmentally friendly energy technology, including smart city technology, smart grids, biotechnology, and nanotechnology.
He said these sectors are very important for both countries, and China is very willing to be a partner with Italy for research and development relating to these sectors.
Third, Wang said that Chinese and Italian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) should further cooperate in innovation and technology, adding that Chinese SMEs are already very active in technological innovation in their niche sectors.
To encourage cooperation between Chinese and Italian SMEs, the two countries' governments should use appropriate systems to protect and motivate cooperation, including enhancing the protection of intellectual property, he said.
Fourth, regional cooperation should be encouraged because both China and Italy have regions that possess innovative and niche sector technologies, and synergy can be achieved if Chinese and Italian businesses from regions with the same expertise work together, and this in turn will increase national cooperation.
And fifth, Wang said the two countries should increase the number of cooperation platforms, such as research and development centers established within universities to help businesses of the two countries to jointly develop new technology.
The Italy-China Innovation Forum is a part of a series of events taking place on China Pavilion Day at the Milan Expo. Other events to celebrate this special day include Chinese cultural performances and a soccer match between young Italian and Chinese soccer players.
Following Wang's address at the forum, representatives from many Chinese and Italian companies exchanged their views on technology innovation. Chinese companies speaking at the forum included Huawei, Beijing Tian'an Agricultual Development and Beijing Fat Dragon Gardenscape Co.
Stefania Giannini, Italy's education minister, also expressed her hopes for further China-Italy technology cooperation at the forum.
Giannini said that that she believes many opportunities for bilateral cooperation exist in the fields of new material, recycling, packaging material, and food production. "We want our cooperation to continue beyond the Expo," she said.