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Italy's exit from Belt and Road project won't harm 'excellent' bilateral relations

Italy's foreign minister Antonio Tajani at an Adnkronos' forum on 6 December 2023
Italy's foreign minister Antonio Tajani at an Adnkronos' forum on 6 December 2023
06 dicembre 2023 | 13.41
LETTURA: 2 minuti

Italy's formal exit from China's Belt and Road Initiative global infrastructure and trade project is not "a negative act" and will not harm "excellent" bilateral and trade ties, foreign minister Antonio Tajani said on Wednesday.

"Non-participation in the Silk Road does not represent a negative act towards China," Tajani told a forum organised by Adnkronos news agency at its headquarters.

Tajani rferred to the ancient trade route on which the BRI is modelled.

"It means continuing to have excellent relations and to work together intensely on certain aspects of our trade ties in order to strengthen our market presence," Tajani said.

The one trillion dollar BRT "is not one of our priorities," Tajani said.

"We have seen that is has not had the desired results and indeed those countries who have not taken part have had better results,"he noted.

In a letter sent to the Chinese embassy in recent days, the government informed Beijing that the deal signed four years ago will not be renewed when it expires in March - a decision that premier Giorgia Meloni conveyed to her Chinese counterpart Li Qiang personally during the G20 summit in September.

In a sign of its wish to maintain strong ties with China, Italy has convened an intergovernmental meeting in Verona next year "to look at all areas of international trade", Tajani said.

"Relations continue to be excellent, even though China is one of our competitors at global level," Tajani underlined.

When Italy signed the BRI Memorandum of Understanding with China in March 2019 it faced strong criticism from the European Union and the United States for becoming the first and only G7 country to join

When Italy signed the BRI Memorandum of Understanding with China in March 2019 it faced strong criticism from the European Union and the United States for becoming the first and only G7 country to join president Xi Jinping's flagship project.

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