Berlin’s objections unfair, according to former Italian ambassador to ChinaAgreement with China partly due to frustration at lack of EU action in tackling trade deficits
Topic | Italy
Published: 10:00pm, 12 Mar, 2019
Italy’s former ambassador to China has blasted an attempt by Germany and its “satellites” to stop Italy from joining China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” as unfair, saying that Berlin was happy to do business with Beijing “in every possible way”.
Alberto Bradanini told the South China Morning Post on Sunday that Rome had decided to go ahead with the plan partly out of frustration at the lack of action by the European Union in tackling trade deficits with China.
Italy wanted to take the matter into its own hands, he said, describing the decision by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte – who is to proceed with a framework deal during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit later this month – as “logical and normal” in eyeing deeper business ties with China.
“The countries of Northern Europe, Germany and its satellites in particular, which are today opposed to the signing of this [memorandum of understanding between Italy and China] – maybe because they need to pay lip service to American pressures – make business with China in every field and in every way possible, with or without the belt and road umbrella,” Bradanini said.
Italy will become the first G7 member to join Xi’s signature initiative to grow global trade, and cooperation between the two nations could include greater access for Chinese companies to the Italian port of Trieste – one of the region’s busiest and with access to the Mediterranean.
Bradanini, who served as Italy’s top envoy to China between 2013 and 2015, said it would be an “asset” to join a major initiative that would strengthen Eurasian connectivity, especially as Italy had fallen victim to the EU’s inability to narrow trade deficits against China.