Italy Hopes To Start Seeing Belt And Road Benefits In Next Few Months - Official
Italy hopes to start seeing the benefits of China's landmark Belt and Road Initiative for infrastructure in the next few months, Michele Geraci, the undersecretary of state for the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, told Sputnik
In March, Rome and Beijing signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) on China's plan to link Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East through various infrastructure projects.
"We hope that in the next few months we will start to see the benefits of having signed the MoU with the Belt and Road," the undersecretary in charge of international trade and foreign investment said.
Geraci added that China's initiative would help Italy boost trade with any other country that was part of the project, including Russia.
"When I talk about trade partnership, I talk less and less about Europe, and more and more about the New Eurasia, the Eurasian bloc of countries with whom we can have partnership.
We do this, of course, with Russia, we do this with the Central Asian countries infrastructure development and energy and even agriculture in some of them. This for us [is] very important, and we want to play a leading role as Italy in relations between Europe and Eurasia, a leading role as Italy? " Geraci said.
The rest of the European Union has been cautious about China's initiative. French President Emmanuel Macron called for balance and reciprocity in trade with China while welcoming Chinese President Xi Jinping in Paris in late March. Earlier this year, France and Germany pushed for a big railroad merger which was eventually denied by the European Commission on the premise that China was emerging as a strong competitor.