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Italy’s Surprise Move: Withdraws from China’s Belt and Road Project

Strengthening Ties with India, Italy Deals a Blow to China's Ambitious Initiative

December 09, 2023: In a surprising turn of events, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has officially announced Italy’s withdrawal from China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The decision came after a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the G-20 summit in India. Italy’s exit from the project deals a significant blow to China, impacting its plans for the Belt and Road project.

Italy, having joined the BRI four years ago under then-Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, expressed dissatisfaction with the outcomes of the agreement. Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani highlighted that despite the initial optimism, trade between Italy and China did not meet expectations. The withdrawal announcement was made three days prior, conveying Italy’s decision to the Chinese government.

The move has left China unable to proceed with its Belt and Road Initiative as Italy, the sole country collaborating on the project, officially ends its cooperation. This unforeseen development has put a dent in Chinese President Xi Jinping’s strategic vision for the BRI.

Italy, simultaneously, is taking steps to strengthen its trade relations with India. During the G-20 summit, crucial agreements were signed between Italy and India, marking a shift in Italy’s international alliances. The unexpected decision to withdraw from the BRI demonstrates Italy’s commitment to exploring new avenues for economic cooperation.

While Italy’s withdrawal from China’s project unfolds, the country is actively engaging with India in pursuit of stronger bilateral ties. Italian Prime Minister Meloni’s selfie with Prime Minister Modi in Dubai further emphasized the focus on fostering relationships with India.

In another significant development, at the G-20 summit in New Delhi, India, the United States, Italy, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, and the European Union came together to agree on the IMEC project. This initiative is perceived as a response to China’s BRI and aims to enhance trade relations and connectivity between India, West Asia, and European countries.

Italy’s decision to withdraw from the Belt and Road Initiative underscores the evolving geopolitical landscape and the emergence of new alliances that could reshape international trade dynamics in the years to come.


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