Italy just slammed China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road initiative, saying it was a ‘terrible’ decision to join and that it barely profited from the deal.

Italy just slammed China's trillion-dollar Belt and Road initiative, saying it was a 'terrible' decision to join and that it barely profited from the deal.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands after the signing ceremony of the Belt and Road Initiative, on March 23, 2019 in Rome, Italy.

Italy just slammed China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, saying it was a “terrible” decision to join it and that it hardly benefited from the deal.Antonio Masiello / Getty Images

  • Italy has second thoughts about joining China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

  • Its defense minister has just slammed the deal as “improvised and outrageous”.

  • Italy was the largest economy to sign the agreement in 2019 and is currently studying how to exit without damaging relations.

Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto criticized his country’s decision to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative, calling it “improvised and outrageous”.

The country is now considering a diplomatic exit by the end of 2023.

Crosetto – part of the new far-right administration that He assumed power in 2022 – He made these statements in an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. He said the agreement doubled China’s exports to Italy, but made little difference to Italy’s exports to China, according to him. Reuters report Sunday.

First announced in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative is China An ambitious mega infrastructure project It aims to connect more than 100 countries across Europe and Asia through trade, including Indonesia, Poland and Egypt. Center for Strategic and International Studies I reported a wide range of estimates For how much China was investing in the project, from $1 to $8 trillion.

when italy It pledged to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative in 2019, was the largest economy to do so. It remains the only country in the Group of Seven that signed the initiative.

However, since then, Italy’s imports from China have almost doubled, but the European country’s exports to China have increased slightly.

Italy’s exports to China rose to 16.4 billion euros, or $18 billion, in 2022, from 13 billion euros in 2019. On the other hand, China’s exports to Italy increased from 31.7 billion euros in 2019 to 57.5 billion euros in 2022 . Reuters reportedCiting data from the Italian Economic Observatory.

The current Italian prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, harshly criticized the deal ahead of her election in 2022. But since then it has been giving mixed signals.

Meloni said in May that “it is possible to have good relations with Beijing” without the Belt and Road Initiative. Politico reported. The Italy-China deal expires in 2024, and will automatically renew unless either country notifies the other that it intends to withdraw in advance.

Italy is likely to exit BRI by the end of the year, Eurasia Group analysts said in a report Friday seen by Insider. Analysts wrote that Meloni’s “priority is to strengthen her position with Washington and other allies, even at the risk of retaliation.”

Since its inception, the Belt and Road Initiative has been plagued by “buyer’s remorse”, with 35% of all Belt and Road projects affected by major issues, according to a 2021 report. Study by Aid Data Research Lab.

These issues led to projects being suspended or canceled outright, while countries were trapped in exorbitant debts to China, according to the study.

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