lørdag 30. mars 2019

China’s Bid for the Heart and Soul of Italy

In Italy, there is much excitement about the reward of Chinese gold. People talk about how they could grow rich selling luxury goods from Milan or hosting more high-spending Chinese tourists in Venice and Rome. The ports of Tauro and Genoa also expect investment and the Italians hope China can lift their country out of recession, bringing good fortune in the Year of the Pig.

The optimism contrasts with a more downbeat tone surrounding the BRI in the press outside of China. Asian countries – including Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and India – have warned of risks, such as political servitude and the burden of unpayable debt. Even within China, which is facing an economic slowdown, the BRI seems to be slipping down the agenda. It was barely mentioned in the official economic reports that followed the National People’s Congress in Beijing in March. Italy’s chief cheerleader for the BRI deal is Under Secretary of State for Economic Development Michele Geraci. “We see this as an opportunity for our companies to take advantage of China’s growing influence in the world, especially its commercial influence,” he says.

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