Italian Premier Guiseppe Conte announced Tuesday that Italy is set to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) (AP). The world’s 8th largest country, according to GDP, Italy is the largest nation to sign on to the BRI so far (Business Insider). Due to US and EU objections, Premier Conte clarified that signing the memorandum of understanding to allow the infrastructure project would not impact Italy’s alliances (AP). The addition of Italy to the BRI is a massive success for Chinese President Xi Jinping, who will now have direct access to European markets (Reuters).
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Chao announced in a news briefing that both parties will sign agreements on infrastructure, machinery, and finance (Reuters). However, when asked about plans to construct a Chinese-funded port in Italy, Wang responded that investment companies would make decisions based on market conditions (Reuters). Premier Conte assured the Italian Parliament that over several months, every level of government negotiated the infrastructure deals (AP). He added that the memorandum of understanding is not legally binding and that the new infrastructure deal would give Italy increased access to Chinese markets (AP).
Tags: China, Italy, Belt and Road Initiative, Xi Jinping, Guiseppe Conte