Italy China Council Foundation unveiled after two organizations merge

ROME, June 28 (Xinhua) -- The Italy-China Foundation and the Italy-China Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday combined into a single entity, Italy China Council Foundation (ICCF), consolidating the main Italian entities promoting private sector economic ties between the two countries.

According to Mario Boselli, former head of Italy-China Foundation who will serve as the president of ICCF, the merger will help usher in a new and resilient period of trade between Italy and China.

"Trade between Italy and China has been vibrant for many years and I am confident it will only grow stronger over time," Boselli told Xinhua in an interview, predicting that the Italian export sectors most likely to see a post-pandemic recovery were food and wine, high-end fashion products and design.

Before Tuesday's merger, both the Italy-China Foundation, which was founded in 2003, and the Italy-China Chamber of Commerce -- founded in 1970, worked to promote private sector commercial ties between the two countries.

Boselli said that while the organizations weren't competitors, the dual roles did create some challenges. "Both organizations had the same broad goals but it wasn't always clear which entity did what. We were already collaborating in some areas. That's one of the reasons this integration will help promote stronger commercial relations."

In a statement, Marco Bettin, the ICCF's new director-general, said the coronavirus pandemic helped hurry along this latest step.

"After the last two difficult years, the needs of our users have changed and the need arose to work for greater synergy and for a convergence of services that already existed but needed to be implemented and structured," Bettin said.

"At the center of the new project are the companies," he continued. "The Italian and Chinese companies that are part of our network will have an even more central role and this is both a means and an objective that we want to pursue with this new entity."

The ICCF shareholders -- 360 Italian and Chinese companies -- are dominated by the services sector, which accounts for more than 60 percent of shareholder membership. Industrial companies and financial institutions make up the remainder.

In a statement, the ICCF said its services and industrial sector shareholders have combined global revenues of more than 31 billion euros (32.6 billion U.S. dollars), while those in the financial sector include banks from Italy, China and Europe, as well as two large multinational insurance firms.

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