Italy’s Meloni says Biden never raised issue of Belt and Road membership

Daniel Jack
Daniel JackJul 24, 2023, 3:57 PM
Italy's Meloni says Biden never raised issue of Belt and Road membership

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who will visit the White House on Thursday, said that U.S. President Joe Biden had never challenged her on the issue of Rome being part of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Meloni leads the only major Western country to have joined China’s BRI scheme, which envisions rebuilding the old Silk Road to connect China with Asia, Europe and beyond with large infrastructure spending.

“The president of the United States has never directly raised the question with me,” she told a news conference following an international meeting on migration in Rome.

The deal was signed in 2019 under the administration of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, drawing criticism from Washington and Brussels, and Italy is highly unlikely to renew it when it expires early next year.

It has produced little benefit for Italy over the past four years, with exports to China totalling 16.4 billion euros ($18.1 billion) last year from 13 billion euros in 2019.

(Reporting by Angelo Amante; Editing by Keith Weir)

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    Daniel Jack
    Daniel Jack

    For Daniel, journalism is a way of life. He lives and breathes art and anything even remotely related to it. Politics, Cinema, books, music, fashion are a part of his lifestyle.

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