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Di Maio says Italy president backs MOUs on Chinese investments

FILE PHOTO: Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi di Maio holds a news conference in Rome, Italy, March 8, 2019. REUTERS/Remo Casilli/File Photo

ROME (Reuters) - Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Thursday that President Sergio Mattarella supported commercial accords Italy is poised to sign with China as part of its “Belt and Road” initiative.

The Memorandums of Understanding Italy has prepared with Beijing have been criticized by the United States, which fears China’s growing international clout and penetration into strategic areas such as telecommunications.

“I am pleased to see the president’s office has shown its support to the MOUs,” Di Maio, from the ruling 5-Star Movement, told reporters in the southern Italian region of Basilicata.

He added that the MOUs would help Italy’s port infrastructure and its food exports, and would generally boost Italy’s exports to China, rather than Chinese exports to Italy.

Reporting By Gavin Jones; editing by Agnieszka Flak