Chinese president Xi Jinping and his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella praised the bilateral economic relations between Rome and Beijing, while speaking at a joint press conference in Rome on Friday.

"China and Italy are partners in a mutual beneficial co-operation", stated the Chinese leader, on the second day of a state visit to Italy.

Mattarella stressed the importance of Italian and Chinese businesses' exchanges, saying that they were beneficial for both countries.

"Seizing the extraordinary potential of co-operation in multiple fields and geographical areas, China and Italy together can ensure growing additional value to increasingly advanced goods and services, sought either by our citizens and the international competition", he said.

The two presidents held a face-to-face meeting before being joined by their official delegations.

Xi Jinping will meet Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Saturday, where both leaders are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) alongside a number of bilateral economic and trade agreements.

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