Italy plans to exit China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), according to Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni. Italy had joined the BRI in 2019 under the previous government, but Meloni wants to align Italy’s China policy with that of the US and the EU. China is lobbying for a renewal or postponement of Italy’s exit to avoid embarrassment as it prepares to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the BRI. Italy’s exit from the BRI would be welcomed by the US and the EU, as it would reduce dependence on Beijing. Italy’s disenchantment with the BRI began under the Draghi government and continued under the Meloni government. Italian policymakers are disappointed with the bilateral trade and business opportunities that were expected from the BRI. Meloni wants to cancel the MoU with China and instead foster economic linkages through commercial agreements. Italian companies and localities, including Intesa Sanpaolo, are repositioning themselves to take advantage of the Chinese market post-BRIexit.
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