BEIJING, CHINA - APRIL 27: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (L) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping before their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, April 27, 2019. (Photo by Parker Song - Pool/Getty Images).

As Italy reels, Chinese companies might sense an opportunity to buy up more Italian brands on the cheap

Is Italy’s Economic Crisis an Opportunity for China?

Valbona Zeneli and Michele Capriati

Italy represents one of the most important countries for China’s geoeconomic interests in Europe. It is a source of strategic assets both in advanced and traditional industries and internationally recognized brands and technology as well as occupying a crucial geographic position in the framework of China’s 21st century Maritime Silk Road, an integral part of Belt and Road Initiative. Getting access to Italy’s port infrastructure is a priority for China as it seeks to expand its trading routes from the Mediterranean to northern Europe.

In March 2019, Italy became an official member of the Belt and Road Initiative, becoming the first G-7 country to join the Beijing led platform and the largest economy among the 15 European Union countries that are BRI members. Being the third largest economy in Europe with 15 percent of the Eurozone GDP, including Italy in the BRI was important and largely symbolic for Chinese ambitions in Europe, suggesting the growing role of China in the world. The ambitious BRI MoU signed between Rome and Beijing included 50 agreements, covering economic, cultural, and infrastructural areas. . .

Excerpt from The Diplomat, April 18, 2020.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.