Home » De-risking from China through IMEC (and beyond). Minister Urso’s thoughts

De-risking from China through IMEC (and beyond). Minister Urso’s thoughts

De-risking from China through IMEC (and beyond). Minister Urso’s thoughts
As Italy readies to exit the Belt and Road Initiative, the Enterprise Minister said the relationship with China “must be returned to its original channels as a trade route” to reduce risk. Conversely, multilateral cooperation frameworks like the India-Middle East-Europe Corridor (as well as alliances on minerals and investments) can drive growth in alignment with Rome’s foreign policy

Out with the BRI, in with the IMEC. On Monday, Enterprise Minister Adolfo Urso touched upon China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which Italy is readying to exit. The way it was signed, he said, the BRI deal was “envisaged as a strategic alliance”. Instead, the Italian government believes “that this relationship must be returned to its original channels as a traders’ route, reducing political risks and increasing trade opportunities.”

  • This is the context for the proposal to create the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor, continued the minister, referring to the infrastructural and investment project unveiled at the G-20 in New Delhi – with Italy among its founding partners.
  • As the Middle East Institute’s Mohammed Soliman told us, Italy’s involvement in IMEC “could also be a way to diversify its partnerships following its exit from the BRI” by allowing Rome to “engage in alternative infrastructure projects and economic ventures that align with its strategic interests.”

Consolidating Italy’s repositioning. Minister Urso, a leading member of the ruling Brothers of Italy party, was speaking at a Senate conference organised by the Farefuturo Foundation, which he presides, along with the International Republican Institute and The Heritage Foundation. The convergence is political – but the Rome-Washington link goes beyond party politics, as Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (who leads BoI) remarked during her meeting with leaders from both sides while in the United States capital.

In practical terms. From the perspective of both Italy and the US, cooperating to bolster IMEC as an alternative model to the BRI is also conducive to de-risking from China (a G-7-wide priority) while fostering growth in the Global South, beginning with India and the Middle East. This same drive has brought Italy to officially enter the US-led Minerals Security Partnership on Saturday, along with India and Norway.

  • By promoting ethical mining and strengthening partnerships between friendly countries along the sector, the MSP is also geared at addressing China’s dominance in the field of raw materials by creating alternative, friend-shored supply chains.
  • In parallel, Rome has also voiced its intention to enter the Blue Dot Network steering committee – essentially, the equivalent for infrastructure and investments – which President Joe Biden expressed appreciation for.

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