Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte shook hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a signing ceremony after a three-day trip for the Chinese head of state. Italy is therefore far from being the only one in Europe. Italy`s ANSA news agency reported that Luxembourg was also in advanced talks with China to sign a similar deal. And this agreement would make Italy not the first country, but the 17th European country to join the BRI. Italian railway group Ferrovie dello Stato, Atlantias airport operator Aeroporti di Roma and sports car manufacturer Ferrari`s museums have signed a commercial contract with China`s largest online travel agency, Ctrip, to develop Chinese tourism in Italy. PORTS TRIESTE AND GÊNEs China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) has signed two cooperation agreements with the authorities of the port of Trieste and with the commissioner in charge of overseeing the reconstruction of the Genoa bridge that collapsed last year. The deterioration of the Italian economy could be the main reason why the European country has agreed to sign the Chinese agreement. Italy`s populist government is working to pull the country out of the third recession in a decade and has seen china`s plan as a way to help its economy. Italy signed China`s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) at a ceremony in Rome on Saturday.
The Chinese leader highlighted the signatures by shaking hands with Conte before flying to Palermo, the Sicilian capital, a port city that hopes to benefit from Chinese investment, tourism and orange exports to China. Read more: The possible impact of China`s Belt and Road deal with Italy Zeno D`Agostino, the chairman of the Trieste Port Authority, who signed one of the agreements on Saturday in Rome, said it was natural for Italians to look to China because the Trump administration has withdrawn from the world. But the meat seems to be coming. Bloomberg recently reported that a number of major Italian companies were involved in the design of this agreement, from banks and energy to football clubs. Football clubs may not be strategic areas, but energy and banking certainly are. And Bloomberg has let down big names: gas pipeline operator Snam SpA, engineering firm Ansaldo Energia SpA and leading banks like Intesa San Paolo and Unicredit. The Italian metallurgy company Danieli has signed a contract for the construction of part of a steel plant in China, which will then be transferred to Azerbaijan. The agreement will establish “a better relationship” between China and Italy, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said. The memorandum of understanding, formalized on Saturday, provides for a framework agreement for billions of businesses between Italian and state-backed companies. . . .