World News

In an interview with the Corriere della Sera newspaper on Sunday, Italy’s defence minister, Guido Crosetto, asserted that the BRI initiative, which the country committed to under its previous administration, has done little to increase exports.

According to CNN, Beijing’s BRI international infrastructure investment initiative was founded in 2013 to restore China’s Silk Road, a trade and economic development corridor that connected Asia with Africa and Europe.

Each year, billions of dollars have been invested in infrastructure projects, such as the building of ports from West Africa to Papua New Guinea, the paving of highways from Kenya to Papua New Guinea, and the provision of telecom and power infrastructure for people in Latin America and Southeast Asia.

Critics assert that China is using the BRI to broaden its influence internationally.

Italy joined the BRI in 2019 and was the only significant Western nation and advanced economy from the G7.

“The decision to join the Silk Road was an improvised and wicked act, made by the government of Giuseppe Conte, which led to a double negative result,” Crosetto said in a statement to the Corriere della Sera.

“We shipped a lot of oranges to China, whose exports to Italy have increased threefold in the last three years. The most absurd thing at the time, he claimed, was that Paris sold planes to Beijing for tens of billions of dollars without ever signing a treaty.

He stated that the current issue is how Italy may leave the BRI without hurting its relationship with Beijing. Beijing was referred to by him as “a competitor, but also a partner.”

Italy’s BRI membership will expire in 2024. According to CNN, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni claimed earlier this year that “good relations” with China could continue in the absence of the plan.

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