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Italian Situation Room on Internationalization and PRC

Verantwortlicher Autor: Carlo Marino Rome, 12.09.2018, 09:47 Uhr
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Rome [ENA] Nowadays the most attractive Italian asset for China are ports. Eager to take part in the economic stimulus provided by the Belt and Road Initiative, Italy has proposed a Five-Port Alliance for the Mediterranean that would include Venice, Trieste and Ravenna in Italy as well as Koper (Slovenia) and Fiume (Croatia). Rome recently set up a “Situation Room on Internationalization” whose new goals are:

turning the Government’s commitment to internationalization into a structural commitment; being more attentive and closer to the territory; increasing the number of Italian businesses that are stable exporters, especially from the South; focusing on digital channels; and strengthening the growth process in markets, especially in emerging countries. Support to the internationalization of italian companies is one of the defining points of Italian “economic diplomacy”. The community of Chinese people in Italy has grown rapidly in the past ten years. But to understand China, to grasp what is happening in China, it is important a new mental habit, deep investigation and, more importantly, patience.

In all honesty how many Italian businessmen are familiar with economic conditions and laws in People Republic of China? And how many Italian policymakers? Never, like in this moment, anyway, would it be necessary to try to grasp expansion plans in key markets such as China. Over the past few years, several rounds of large state-arranged corporate mergers have been taking place in People Republic of China, with decisions often taken behind closed doors and carried out against the will of the merging companies.

To Western observers, these sort of interventionist and mercantilist measures may appear anachronistic and potentially dangerous. Looking at them from China’s perspective, however, they are in line with, and unavoidable in the perspective of the Chinese authorities’ historical and political view of the economic order. But the Chinese government is a sort of powerful personal coach for a country where money, big market and great talent is easily accessible. Xi has resisted political reforms and strengthened his grip on the state while supervising sustained economic growth. While the previous leadership sent out ambiguous signals over the direction the Chinese economy (exemplified in the ambiguity introduced by Deng Xiaoping

with his famous quote on the irrelevance of whether a cat is white or black), the current leadership seems well-defined. China’s economy is not and never will be even close to those of Western countries, and the expression ‘market economy with Chinese characteristics’ points to the fact that Chinese characteristics are and will remain predominant over those of a market economy. China is an ecosystem where technology, infrastructure and entrepreneurial culture are instruments for creating the World of Tomorrow.

First, there was the state’s decision to withdraw and let companies spread their wings. Now that Chinese companies have learned how to fly, the current leadership wants to take back control (if not all, at least most). It may appear to many to be a sign of backwardness and conservatism, but it should be seen instead as a proof of the Chinese leadership’s growing confidence that it is capable of creating a whole new political and economic model.

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