Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed a memorandum of understanding with China about endorsing “Belt and Road” investment programme, when Chinese President Xi Jinping visit Italy week. The second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation is going to be held in April. According to Xinhun, some new progress was made in jointly pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative in 2018.
An important step into western world
China found Belt and Road Alliance in Group of Seven (G7) . With ports that offer easy gateways into Europe’s markets, Italy is a promising and prestigious prize for China. In return for the endorsement, Italy government hopes for a boost in exports and investment that will lift its economy out of the third recession in a decade. Italy exported 13.17 billion euros goods to China in 2018 compared to Germany 93.8 billion. Italy government believe there is huge potential that they can taking advantage of.
On the other hand, some key facts and figures about Belt and Road Initiative was published by National Development and Reform Commission. At the end of 2018, 171 cooperation documents on the Belt and Road Initiative was signed. Trade volume with Belt and Road countries surpassed 7 trillion U.S. dollars. Exceeding 30 billion U.S. dollars investment has been built in 82 overseas cooperation zones in Belt and Road countries.
EU hesitation and American anger
The European Union has grown increasingly frustrated by what it sees as the slowness of China to open its economy and by a surge of Chinese takeovers in critical EU sectors, accusing it of distorting local markets. Besides, some research group believes that, “Signing up to the BRI without taking into account geopolitical considerations and without making concrete demands, hoping that one day you will get something in return economically, is very naïve”.
The United States, locked a trade war with China, worries that Belt and Road Initiative will bolster China political and military influence. They are also concerned it could be used to spread technologies. A spokesman for the White House’s national security advisers said, there is no need for Italian government lend legitimacy to China’s infrastructure vanity project.
More investment product offering
Several asset management companies have been focusing on Belt and Road Initiative opportunities and offering investment product in the market, especially fixed income securities. The interest rate cycle will end soon and rate become relatively stable, making more companies to launch to investment product.
Funds related to Belt and Road
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