Italy rattles US and EU with likely support for China’s Belt and Road

Italy has signalled its determination to play a central role in China’s grand plan to build a Silk Road-styled global trade network, despite rattling its EU and US allies with its plan.

The country’s populist government is poised to endorse its participation in Beijing’s $1tn Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a global trade project aimed at connecting Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe via a network of ports, railways, tunnels and other infrastructure, by signing a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) during the Chinese president Xi Jinping’s visit to Italy this week.