Luca Ferrari, Italian Ambassador to China, paid his first visit to Guangdong Province between November 26th to November 28th. During his stay in Guangzhou on November 27th, he had an exclusive interview with Newsgd.com. During the interview, Luca Ferrari highlighted the importance of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area for Sino-Italian cooperation. He also noted that the Greater Bay Area is one of those growth engines in China especially in the post-pandemic period.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Italy. Luca Ferrari also said that Italy holds a global strategic partnership with China. He believes the Sino-Italian relationship will thrive in the coming years from the economic, trade, financial and political point of view.
(Photo: Newsgd.com/Zhang Ruilin, Mia Lai)
Here are some highlights of the interview:
Newsgd.com: What's your overall impression on Guangdong province? Could you please describe it in three words or phrases?
Luca Ferrari: I have to say that Guangzhou is a wonderful city, very beautiful. It's a very modern city. I've been around the city the whole day. So, I'm very happy to be in Guangzhou and in Guangdong. I think it's going to be the first of many visits. There are many Italian companies in Guangdong. So, there's a thriving Italian community. And my heart lies with Cantonese food. (Guangdong is) modern, thriving, and glamorous.
Newsgd.com: Have you got a chance to taste the Cantonese cuisine, try any dim-sum? How do you like it?
Luca Ferrari: I adore Cantonese cuisine. Cantonese cuisine is my favorite Chinese cuisine. my first flavors of Chinese cuisine come from the Cantonese cuisine. And I've been very strongly tied to that tradition all my life.
Newsgd.com: With the opportunity of holding the World Week of Italian Cuisine, how do you think the two countries can carry out more cooperation in food economy and trade?
Luca Ferrari: First of all, the provision of food, everybody must have food to eat. China's a country where one of the aims of the government and the party is to provide affordable food and a higher living standard for everybody.
The second area is the fact that we should not waste food. This is one area which President Xi Jinping is underlying, but it is a global issue. We have to stop wasting food. We must have a more sustainable way of living. So, we have to reduce food consumption.
Third, there is the food security chain. We have to work far more on food security and on food transmission chains. So, there are many areas of food. It's not just eating. It's not just cuisine. It's not just Cantonese versus Italian or Italian versus French.
Newsgd.com: What new opportunities do you think will the Greater Bay Area bring for Italy?
Luca Ferrari: In the coming 10 years, China will represent more than one third of world growth by itself. So, this tells you what an engine China will be. Within China, there are some engines, and certainly the Greater Bay Area is one of those engines. Hong Kong, Macao, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Foshan... All these cities put together represent an enormous economic, industrial, commercial, and financial basis.
So, this tells you a lot of how important the Guangdong region and the Greater Bay Area is for Italy, but not just for Italy, I think, for the whole world, I think Guangdong is certainly important. It's one of those gateways to China, which nobody can ignore.
Newsgd.com: What roles do you think the media from both regions can play in furthering the cooperation and exchange?
Luca Ferrari: The media has to do its job, which is to tell what's going on, to give impressions, and to give opinions. I think this kind of work is very important. Certainly, the Italian media, which is well established in China, is looking upon the Greater Bay Area and writing about it. I think the Chinese media of the Greater Bay Area has a large responsibility in reporting to the rest of the world the evolution of this region.
Newsgd.com: During the pandemic, people in both Italy and China help and support each other to fight against the virus. About our cooperation in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, what touched you the most and why?
Luca Ferrari: I was very touched by how the Chinese public reacted when the pandemic struck Italy and how precipitously they organized themselves to send help to Italy. I think the medical equipment they sent to Italy was essential for the very first months in which the pandemic struck very hard. I think the Italian people were touched by the generosity of the Chinese people. What touched me the most about the pandemic is how strong the people-to-people ties between China and Italy are, and of course also of the Guangdong region and Guangzhou.
Newsgd.com: According to your observation during your stay in China since January, what comment do you want to make about the development and current situation of the China-Italy relations?
Luca Ferrari: We established our diplomatic relationship in 1970. So, our relationship has been in the making for more than just 50 years, maybe 70 years since the birth of the PRC. With China, Italy holds a global strategic partnership. So, I think the years we have ahead of us will be years in which our relationship from the economic, trade, financial, and political point of view as well, will thrive.
But I do want to underline that when we started our relationship with China, we were both two countries in the making. Today, Italy and China are among the top industrial powers in the world. The top economic powers in the world. We both belong to the G20. And that tells you a lot of the road we have travelled together.
Newsgd.com: As China-Italy relations are standing at a new historical starting point—the 50th anniversary, what are your wishes for the development of the China-Italy relations?
Luca Ferrari: The wishes I have is that the China-Italy relationship, with my help and the help of the Italian Consulates General in China, we are working to enhance this relationship. My best wishes go to Italy and China for the future for the coming 50 years.
Author | Monica & Fanny
Editor | Wing & Jerry