On 23rd March, Italy became the first member of G7 nations to sign China’s Belt and Road infrastructure project. Italy became the first major Western power to support the drive, which aims to incorporate a network of ports, bridges, and power plants that would be linking China with Africa, Europe and beyond. In short, it would help in recovering the grappling Italian economy.
Saturday’s signing ceremony was the focal point of a three-day trip to Italy by Chinese President Xi Jinping, with the two countries strengthening their ties at a time when China is locked in a trade-battle with the United States. The signing event took place at Villa Madama. The reconciliation has infuriated Washington and scared some European Union allies, who fear it could see Beijing gain approach to sensitive technologies and important transport hubs.
Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio minimized such concerns, informed reporters that even though Rome remained fully loyal to its Western partners, it placed Italy first when it came to commercial ties.
Di Maio, after signing the MoU on behalf of the Italian government in a Renaissance villa, stated that it is a very important day for them, as it’s a day when Made-in-Italy has won, Italy has won and Italian companies have won.
Taking edge of Xi’s visit, Italian firms signed deals with Chinese counterparts worth an initial 2.5 billion euros ($2.8 billion). Di Maio stated that these contracts had a prospective, future value of 20 billion euros. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) lies at the centre of China’s foreign policy strategy and was into the ruling Communist Party constitution in 2017, reflecting Xi’s desire for his nation to take a global leadership role.