Italy Shakes Hands with China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Italy Shakes Hands with China’s Belt and Road Initiative 

Last updated on March 29th, 2019

Italy has become the first G7 nation to endorse China’s belt and road initiative, a development strategy used by the Chinese government involving infrastructure development and investments in 152 countries. The endorsement implies that diplomatic ties between Rome and Beijing will improve, besides potentially uplifting Italy’s stagnant economy.

In a ceremony held on Saturday as a part of a three-day state visit to Italy by Chinese President Xi Jinping, a memorandum of understanding was signed to support China’s initiative. Luigi DI Maio, deputy Prime Minister and leader of the anti-establishment Five Star party, signed the document with He Lifeng, chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission in Rome.

A deal with China also plays a major role for both the parties in establishing economic nationalism, while promoting the “made in Italy” products. China is one of the global producers in terms of fashion and luxury goods, a market which excels in Italy.

Italy and China also announced a number of agreements in sectors including energy and steel. Though Rome did not comment on the exact amplitude of its agreements, but conveyed that they were more than several billion euros.

However, China’s new initiative has raised concerns in Brussels and Washington that have deemed the move as China’s comprehensive strategy to grip control over potent locations around the world.

On Friday, French President Macron, who is scheduled to meet Xi in Paris on Tuesday said, the “time of European naïveté” with China in focus had ended. He further raised the alarm and called for a strict response by the European Union towards the nation.

Interestingly, the French President has also invited the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to join the meeting.

Besides, the move is also expected to stiff up the internal relations as leader of the anti-migrant League party Matteo Salvini faces conundrum over building close relationship with the US. “Don’t tell me China is a free market,” he said at an event on Saturday.

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