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Italy to join China's New Silk Road project

The project will not help Italy economically and may significantly damage the country’s international image: White House

Thursday March 7, 2019 12:44 PM, ummid.com News Network

Belt and Road Initiative

Washington: Italy mulls to formally back China’s multi-trillion-dollar and multi-nation Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), popular as New Silk Road project. It would become the first G7 nation to join the ambitious project which promises to significantly boost global trade.

Italy is set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to officially support the project, championed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, by the end of March, according to Michele Geraci, undersecretary in Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development as quoted by FT.

“The negotiation is not over yet, but it is possible that it will be concluded in time for Xi’s visit,” Geraci told the media.

“We want to make sure that ‘Made in Italy’ products can have more success in terms of export volume to China, which is the fastest-growing market in the world", Geraci added.

Xi Jinping is expected to visit Italy on March 22. After that he will reportedly head to France and then to the US for further negotiations to resolve the current trade stand-off between Beijing and Washington.

Italy’s move has not been received well in Washington. The project will not help Italy economically and may significantly damage the country’s international image, the White House said.

“We are skeptical that the Italian government’s endorsement will bring any sustained economic benefits to the Italian people, and it may end up harming Italy’s global reputation in the long run,” National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis told the media.

The Belt and Road Initiative is expected to provide effective connectivity and boost China’s cooperation with more than 80 countries in Southeast and Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa via various infrastructure projects on the lines of the old Silk Road. The project promises to significantly boost global trade, cutting trading costs by half for the countries involved.

One part of the project called the CPEC (the China Pakistan Economic Corridor) runs through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir or PoK.

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