Italy Withdraws from Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

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NewsDateDecember 6, 2023
WhatBelt and Road Initiative (BRI)Global infrastructure program
Led by China
– Enhance trade routes
– Improve global infrastructure
– Over 100 countries
– Italy joined in 2019
WhyDisappointment with economic benefits
Strategic rethinking of China
Unmet promises
– Exports to China increased slightly
From 13 billion (2019)
To 16.4 billion (2022)
– Unequal trade growth
Chinese exports grew more dramatically
– Decreased Chinese investment in Italy
From $650 million (2019)
To $33 million (2021)
– Geopolitical concerns
Growing European skepticism towards China
Concerns over China’s global influence
Beijing’s support for Russia
Geopolitical alignment with Moscow
WhereItalyFirst G7 country to join BRI
Decision to withdraw
WhenItaly joined BRI2019
Withdrawal announced2023
BRI agreement expirationMarch 2024
WhoItalian Prime MinisterGiorgia Meloni
Advocated for withdrawal
Chinese PresidentXi Jinping
Championed the deal
HowOfficial notification to China
Agreement set to expireMarch 2024
Italy’s shift in geopolitical strategy
– Pro-NATO stance
– Strengthening ties with the U.S.
– Maintaining trade with China
ProsPotential for improved Italian-Chinese trade relations
Despite withdrawal
Enhanced geopolitical standing with Western allies
ConsRisk of strained Italy-China relations
Possible economic repercussions
For Italy and BRI
ChallengesManaging post-withdrawal diplomatic relations
Realigning Italy’s international trade strategy
Ensuring continued economic growth
Way ForwardItaly assumes G7 presidency in 2024
Focus on strengthening European ties
Exploring new international trade opportunities
Other DetailsItaly’s initial hopes for BRI
– Attract investment
– Expand exports
– Counterbalance EU skepticism
ContextItaly’s economic struggles pre-BRI
Populist government’s outlook
Global ImpactBRI scaled back
– Debt distress in recipient countries
– Chinese banks reducing risky loans
European focus on “de-risking” economies

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