Xi Jinping arrived in Rome last night.
Xi wants the visit to usher in a “new era” for Sino-Italian relations (China Daily):
“I hope to work with Italian leaders to map out the future of our relationship and move it into a new era.”The big news: China and Italy are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Why that’s a big deal: Italy will become the first G7 country to sign up to Xi’s signature foreign policy project. And it comes over the objections of other EU countries and the US.
The MOU is expected to preview Chinese investment in the four ports of Genoa, Palermo, Trieste, and Ravenna.
Some context: Increased Chinese investment in Italy is starting from a low base (FT):“Italy…only ranks 76th globally for Chinese capital invested in greenfield projects in the last 10 years.”“Even when including mergers and acquisitions and other forms of investment, Italy…lags behind peers in terms of Chinese investment.”
The bigger picture: The EU is trying to form a common position on Chinese investment. But it’s hard to find a consensus in such a diverse set of countries.
CPC People: 习近平抵达罗马开始对意大利共和国进行国事访问
FT: Charts that show why Italy wants China’s Belt and Road Initiative
China Daily: Full text of Xi's signed article on Italian newspaper
SCMP: Italy may be ready to open up four ports to Chinese investment under ‘Belt and Road Initiative’