BOAO, Hainan, March 26 (Xinhua) -- The signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will accelerate Italy's commercial relationship with China, a senior Italian official said Tuesday.
"It is really a project to strengthen friendship between two peaceful countries. It's the basis on which we build commercial and cultural exchanges," said Michele Geraci, undersecretary of state of the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, at a panel discussion of the ongoing Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference.
On March 23, Italy signed a MoU with China to jointly advance the construction of the BRI, becoming the first Group of Seven nation to join the initiative.
The signing of the MoU will boost Italy's commercial cooperation with China, which had lagged behind other European countries in the past 10 to 15 years, Geraci said.
Geraci said that China and Italy could have win-win cooperation in areas including infrastructure, especially water transport projects.
Such initiative will also be important to the country's many small and medium-sized enterprises, and it will be their call to decide on specific projects to participate in.
Geraci said that he expected other countries to follow Italy to join the initiative and sign the MoU.
The BFA annual conference runs from March 26 to 29 in Boao, a coastal town in China's southern island province of Hainan.