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March 25, 2019

China Signs Deal To Strengthen Trade Ties With Italy

This past Saturday, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Italian President Sergio Mattarella signed a deal that makes Italy the first country to officially become part of Group of Seven nations that China hopes eventually will support its “Belt and Road” infrastructure (BRI) initiative.

As Reuters reported, President Xi said, “We want to revitalize the ancient Silk Road in order to better share the fruits of humanity’s progress.” President Mattarella said, “The Silk Road must be a two-way street and not only trade must travel along it, but also talent, ideas and knowledge.”

Italian officials hope increased trade from the agreement will boost its flailing economy. While a total of 29 deals amounting to €2.5 billion ($2.8 billion) were signed over the last week while President Xi was in Rome, according to Reuters, Italian officials believe the pact could be worth up to €7 billion ($7.9 billion).

Prior to Saturday, U.S. officials had asked Italian officials to reconsider their alliance with the Chinese. The White House National Security Council said the Italian government should not give “legitimacy to China’s infrastructure vanity project.”