Italy considers exit from China's Belt and Road initiative
Italy is considering leaving China's "Belt and Road" infrastructure project amid rising tensions between the US and China, according to Bloomberg sources. Italy is the only Group of Seven country that has a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Beijing on the initiative, set to expire next year.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is reportedly undecided on whether the MOU should be renewed or scrapped. While the deal has not led to deeper cooperation between Italy and China, experts warn that ending the agreement would lead to economic and diplomatic repercussions and a souring of Italian-Chinese relations.
The two countries have strong economic ties, with Italy being the third-largest importer of Chinese goods in the EU and the fourth-largest exporter of goods to China.
The US has been pushing Europe to follow its lead in introducing export controls on key technologies to prevent them from reaching China, which Beijing is trying to prevent. This puts Italy in a difficult situation as it tries to balance its economic interests with both countries.