March 12, 2019 / 8:46 AM / 14 days ago

Italy's MOU with China on Belt and Road project "storm in a teacup" - Tria

BRUSSELS, March 12 (Reuters) - Italy’s Economy minister Giovanni Tria said on Tuesday that the deal with China on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) would not have any major impact on trade rules and has raised unjustified concerns.

“I think it’s a storm in a teacup,” Tria told journalists in Brussels.

Italy is negotiating to sign a memorandum of understanding to become a part of BRI when Chinese President Xi Jinping visits the country later this month.

A spokesman for the White House’s group of national security advisers, Garrett Marquis, on Saturday called the Chinese venture a “vanity project” that Italy should steer clear of.

“The MOU confirms the economic and trade cooperation (between Italy and China). It does not change any rules,” Tria added. (Reporting by Francesco Guarascio, writing by Giselda Vagnoni; editing by Agnieszka Flak)

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