ROME — Entrepreneurs, diplomats and analysts from Italy and China expressed confidence on Thursday of the future economic ties between the two countries despite a temporary slowdown in two-way trade in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They made the remarks at “China-Italy: Prospects for Business,” a forum organized by the Study Center at the Italy China Council Foundation in Milan.
“Despite the obvious difficulties coming from a global economy in crisis, the message we are getting from companies is a great desire to collaborate,” Mario Boselli, president of the foundation, said during the forum.
The planned launch of direct flights between Milan and Shanghai next year by Italy’s flagship carrier ITA would further boost bilateral economic relations, said Luca Ferrari, Italy’s ambassador to China.
Rosario Strano, head of China operations at Banca Intesa Sanpaolo, sees growing “cultural, political and economic challenges” for Italian companies operating in China, but the market potential is “still as great as it’s ever been,” he said.
Zheng Xuan, the interim Charge d’Affaires at the Chinese Embassy in Rome, stressed the need for both Italian and Chinese companies to focus on long-term operations.
“Commercial ties are increasingly complex and require long-term vision,” Zheng said.
He was echoed by Hu Kun, president of European operations for Chinese telecommunications and information technology giant ZTE. The company has been operating in Italy for 17 years.
“We have made long-term investments in Italy, a market of strategic importance for us,” Hu said. “It is important to learn how a market works and develop strong ties.”
Several speakers at the forum spoke of the evolution of the economic ties between the countries.
Stefano Picchiotti, general counsel of Guala Closures, sees a growing demand for high-end products in China. His company, known for its safety closures for wine, spirits and olive oil, has operated in China since 1998 and has reported faster growth in premium and prestige products than in standard products.
In one of the industry’s most comprehensive analyses, AGCS has identified the top causes of loss for companies from more than in over 200 countries and territories that it has been involved with between 2017 and 2021 (typically a number of insurers provide coverage jointly considering the huge values at stake in the corporate sector). These claims have an approximate value of €88.7bn, which means that the insurance companies involved have paid out – on average – over €48mn every day for five years to cover losses.
The analysis shows that almost 75% of financial losses arise from the top 10 causes of loss, while the top three causes account for close to half (45%) of the value. Despite improvements in risk management and fire prevention, fire/explosion (excluding wildfires) is the largest single identified cause of corporate insurance losses, accounting for 21% of the value of all claims. Fires have resulted in more than €18bn worth of insurance claims over five years, according to the analysis. Even the average claim totals around €1.5mn.
Natural catastrophes (15%) ranks as the second top cause of loss globally by value of claims. Collectively, the top five causes (based on more than 20,000 claims around the world) – hurricanes/tornados (29%); storm (19%); flood (14%); frost/ice/snow (9%) and earthquake/tsunami (6%) account for 77% of the value of all disaster claims. Hurricanes and tornados are the most expensive cause of loss, driven by the fact that two of the past five Atlantic hurricane seasons (2017 and 2021) now rank among the three most active and costliest on record, as well as recent record-breaking tornado activity. Insurers are also seeing new scenarios. During 2021, the ‘Texas Big Freeze’ in the US and flooding in Germany stood out as events that were both large but had unexpected claims. For example, the ‘Texas Big Freeze’ in February caused huge disruption to infrastructure and manufacturing, with many companies forced into shutdowns by widespread power outages, resulting in property damage and in some large contingent business interruption (CBI) losses. This event alone is estimated to have caused economic losses up to $150bn.
Faulty workmanship/maintenance incidents are the third top cause of loss overall (accounting for 9% by value) and are also the second most frequent driver of claims (accounting for 7% by number, ranking only behind damaged goods with 11%). Costly incidents can include collapse of building/structure/subsidence from faulty work, faulty manufacturing of products/components or incorrect design.
The other top 10 causes of loss are: aviation collision/crash (#4; 9%), machinery breakdown (#5; 5%), defective product (#6; 5%), shipping incidents (#7; 3%), damaged goods (#8; 3%), negligence/misadvice (#9; 2%) and water damage (#10; 2%).
Rickey Bibey was found dead in the hotel room a stone’s throw away from Ponte del Vecchio. Photo taken when he played for Wigan Warriors in 2003
Former rugby league star Ricky Bibey has been found dead in a £350-a-night riverside hotel in Florence, Italy.
The ex-sportsman, who retired from the game in 2012, died yesterday morning.
The 40-year-old made 215 appearances for five rugby league sides, including three stints at hometown club Leigh Centurions.
Bibey was identified by police, according to local newspaper La Nazione.
He is understood to have arrived in the picturesque city with a woman on Friday night and they arrived back at the Hotel Continentale ‘in high spirits’ at 2am on Saturday.
The woman is understood to have been found bloodied and bruised before being taken to hospital.
Today police sources in Florence told MailOnline they hoped to question the woman this evening or at the latest tomorrow morning.
An insider said: ‘She is recovering but is still sedated so we are waiting for the go ahead from medical staff at the hospital.
‘She has not been arrested and it will not be a formal questioning it’s more a question of trying to understand what happened in the room.
‘The hope was for an autopsy to be carried out on the man sometime today but that will now happen on Monday.
‘That will establish levels of alcohol and if any drugs were present but at this moment all we know for certain is that no third party was involved. We are satisfied of that.’
Italian media have reported that a ‘type of truncheon’ had been recovered from the couple’s first floor room as well as ‘other objects’.
The source added: ‘Obviously items have been taken from the room as with any investigation and pictures and video have been taken but at the moment we are not disclosing what exactly.’
A source at the hotel said: ‘Noises had been heard coming from the room and then a chamber maid saw the woman emerge half naked, with blood on her and screaming for help.
‘That’s when the alarm was raised and the police and paramedics were called. The man was on the floor and despite attempts to save him he was declared dead at the scene.’
Emergency services vehicles gathered outside the hotel yesterday after the tragic death
Ex-rugby star Rickey was working as an estate agent after retiring. Pictured playing for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats against Catalans Dragons in 2009
Mr Bibey is reported to have worked as an estate agent in the years following his retirement, and had previously run a development company.
Bibey’s former team, Wakefield Trinity, wrote on Twitter this morning: ‘Trinity are saddened to hear of the passing of former prop-forward Ricky Bibey, aged 40. We send our condolences to Ricky’s family and friends at this tough time.’
Leigh East, where Bibey started playing as a junior, also paid their respects.
A club spokesperson tweeted: ‘All at the club are saddened to hear about the death of our former junior Ricky Bibey who passed away on holiday.
‘Ricky played professionally for a number of clubs including Leigh, Wigan, St Helens and Wakefield. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.’
The Foreign Office said: ‘We are in touch with the Italian police following the death of a British man in Florence.’
Paramedics raced to the hotel, a stone’s throw from the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge.
Police said they’re still trying to determine the exact cause of death and injury to the woman. Pictured, police at the scene
The woman was taken to the city’s Careggi hospital where she was said to be in a serious but stable condition.
The couple had only arrived at the hotel on Friday night and the alarm was raised early on Saturday morning.
A police source told MailOnline: ‘The people involved are both British and at the moment we are working on two theories an erotic game that went wrong or some sort of domestic argument, but the general direction is that of an erotic game.
‘The man was found with a series of cuts, bruises and other injuries on his body and so was the woman, although she was more seriously hurt and the man appears to have had some sort of seizure.
The hotel is a few minutes’ walk from the heart of the city which is popular with British tourists
Investigators consult their notes as they probe the death and injury at the swish hotel
Police said yesterday that forensic teams are working at the hotel (Continentale suite pictured)
‘There is blood in the room and the forensic teams are working there at the moment while the woman has been taken to hospital for treatment.
‘Her current condition is serious but she is stable and her injuries are not life-threatening. We hope to question her at some point in the next few hours.’
Sources said the couple were from Manchester and ran an upmarket estate agent and they had arrived at the hotel late Friday night.
The pair went out shortly after arriving on Friday and returned just before 2am on Saturday with witnesses saying they were in ‘high spirits’.
Police sources said the woman had children through a previous relationship but was not married to the man who died.