Rom sucht die Ausfahrt aus der Seidenstraße

Ringen um Handel: Chinas Außenminister Wang Yi (rechts) trifft den italienischen Außenminister Antonio Tajani in Peking. Bild: AP

The Italian government is attempting to exit the Chinese infrastructure initiative without causing any damage. The decision should not result in any disadvantages for the companies involved. However, Beijing is opposing this.

WItalien is faced with the challenge of how to withdraw from an agreement with Beijing while ensuring that nothing changes. Italy, as the only G-7 country to have signed China’s „New Silk Road“ initiative, is now considering whether to extend or exit the agreement. The agreement, which was signed four and a half years ago, will expire in March of next year, and the Italian government would need to declare its departure by the end of this year. The American government openly urges Rome to do so, and it seems to encounter little resistance. Giorgia Meloni had already criticized the initiative during the election campaign, especially since, as a representative of the right-wing political camp, she considers national sovereignty to be sacred.

Christian Schubert

Wirtschaftskorrespondent für Italien und Griechenland.

Gustav Theile

Wirtschaftskorrespondent für China mit Sitz in Schanghai.

However, as the head of government, Meloni is also confronted with the reality of the economic giant China, which Italian companies need. Therefore, it is now about damage control if Rome leaves the initiative as expected. Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani emphasized during a meeting with his counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing at the beginning of the week that „we want to strengthen trade cooperation.“ He stressed that a possible withdrawal, ultimately decided by the Italian Parliament, should not tarnish the good economic relations; this is particularly important for Italian luxury manufacturers.