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Friday June 1, 2007

"Canada Table" gets green light

Italy's Foreign Minister D'Alema satisfied with Rome-Ottawa relations


Information technologies, environment, new materials, biotech, aerospace and defence are the fields that Italy and Canada have jointly identified as most promising for bilateral co-operation.
This was underscored by Italy’s Foreign Minister Massimo D’Alema at a meeting with Canadian Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Stewart Beck.
During a press conference called on the occasion of the first meeting of the “Canada Table”, with the participation of entrepreneurs from several Italian industries and research institutions, D’Alema repeated that bilateral relations are excellent.
“The potential for Trans-Atlantic co-operation is huge and must be fulfilled,” remarked D’Alema, highlighting that “the extraordinary development of the Pacific area in no way detracts from such opportunities; this is not a zero-sum game, as opportunities multiply, not subtract.”
In 2006, trade between Canada and Italy has increased. Stating that economic relations are also good, but that “more should be done,” D’Alema specified that the growth of trade for 2006 was of 8 percent, reaching about €4 billion.
According to D’Alema, the list of commercial issues to be tackled includes geographic indications, alcohol regulations, and sanitary aspects. The minister added that, “for the future, bilateral relations can grow especially well in hi-tech industries,” while for Italy traditional sectors such as agri-food, machinery and fashion remain fundamental.
On other aspects of the Rome-Ottawa dialogue, D’Alema said that, “the Government of Italy has started the ratification process on the convention with Canada to avoid double taxation, Social Security, and the extradition treaty.”
Remarking on the importance of the presence in Canada of a strong and well-integrated Italian community, D’Alema mentioned the additional layers of government (Provinces in Canada, Regions for Italy) that enrich the scope of relations between the two countries. Addressing the entrepreneurs in attendance, the Foreign Minister explained, “the quantum leap in bilateral relations depends in large part on business people.”

Stewart Beck stressed the importance of relations between industrial clusters in advanced industries such as healthcare, environment, IT, and biotech, underscoring Canada’s excellent economy, marked by low and stable inflation, low unemployment, and rules favouring foreign investments.
Beck agreed that relations between Canada and Italy are excellent.