|Conte: Silk Road agreement with China is transparent|
|Author: CSEBA / SEEbiz|
|13th March 2019|
|ROME - Premier Giuseppe Conte has played down concerns about the memorandum of understanding Rome is set to sign for Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).|
"We are working to have a future of growth and development and the memorandum with China is a precious opportunity for our businesses," Conte told Il Corriere della Sera.
"It sets out balanced and mutually advantageous cooperation in a transparent framework".
The premier said the memorandum was "perfectly compatible" with Italy's position in NATO and Europe and said there was "no risk of colonization". The BRI is a a massive infrastructure project seeking to create a sort of Silk Road for the modern world. The US and the EU have voiced concern about Italy signing up to it.
In separate comments to Corriere, a spokesman for the White House’s group of national security advisers, Garrett Marquis, warned the accord was “a political hazard.”
“In some well documented instances China has been able to obtain as collateral guarantees strategic assets of countries that were not able to repay their debts,” Marquis was quoted as saying.
China has denied its Belt and Road projects, which fund and build global transport and trade links in more than 60 countries, are a debt trap.
Italy’s public debt runs at more than 1.3 times its domestic output and is the world’s third-largest in absolute terms.