Marco Polo is lower back in China – again

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President Xi Jinping is because of arriving in Italy for an authentic go to on March 22. The pinnacle subject matter of discussion will be the New Silk Road, or the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
A day in advance, in Brussels, the EU is to debate a common method associated with Chinese investments in Europe.
A giant a part of the EU is already connected de facto with BRI. That consists of Greece, Portugal, eleven EU nations belonging to the 16+1 group of China plus Central and Eastern Europe and, for all practical purposes, Italy.
And but it takes an undersecretary inside the Italian financial improvement ministry, Michele Geraci, to tell the Financial Times that a memorandum of information helping BRI might be signed at some stage in Xi’s go to, for all (White House) hell to interrupt free.
The FT isn’t shy of editorializing, calling BRI a “contentious infrastructure software.” BRI is a widespread, far-reaching, long-time period Eurasia integration challenge, and the most effective quasi-international development program within the market, any marketplace. It’s specifically “contentious” to Washington – because the USA government, as I specified elsewhere, determined to alienate it as opposed to making the most of it.
A White House National Security Council spokesperson deriding BRI as a “made using China, for China” undertaking does now not make it so. Otherwise, no much less than 152 – and counting – nations and global corporations would not have formally endorsed BRI.
China’s semi-legit response to the White House, eschewing the usual diplomatic comments by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, came via a scathing, unsigned editorial within the Global Times which accuses Europe of being subjected to Washington’s foreign coverage and a transatlantic alliance that isn’t always coherent with its 21st century needs.
Geraci states the apparent; the BRI hyperlink will permit extra of Made in Italy to be exported to China. As someone who lives between Europe and Asia, and regularly discusses BRI even as in Italy, I see that all the time. The appeal of Made in Italy for the Chinese purchaser – meals, fashion, art, interior design, not to mention all those Ferraris and Lamborghinis – is unrivaled, even with the aid of France. Chinese vacationers can’t get sufficient of Venice, Florence, Rome – and purchasing in Milan.

Washington can construct no case lecturing Italians that a BRI hyperlink undermines the USA facet inside the changing battle – considering that some Xi-Trump deal may be approaching besides. Brussels for its component is already deeply divided, mainly due to France.
German enterprise knows that China is the general and destiny market of choice; besides, one of the pinnacle terminals of the New Silk Road is Duisburg, inside the Ruhr valley.
We’re speaking approximately the 11,000 km-long Yuxinou container cargo teach connection, lively considering 2014; Chongqing, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, all of the manner to Duisburg. Yuxinou (short for Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe), one of the key corridors of the New Silk Roads, is bound to be upgraded to excessive-velocity rail fame within the next decade.
Nearly a yr in the past I defined in a few details on Asia Times how Italy became already connected to BRI.
Mostly, it’s all approximately Italy – the range three European country on naval change – configured because of the top southern European terminal for BRI; the entry door for connectivity routes from east and south while additionally serving, in a cost-effective manner, ratings of destinations west and north.
Fundamental within the undertaking is the contemporary revamping of the port of Venice – channeling supply strains from China thru the Mediterranean toward Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Slovenia, and Hungary. Venice is being configured as an alternative superport to Rotterdam and Hamburg – which might be additionally BRI-connected. I called it the Battle of the Superports.
Whatever Washington, the City of London and even Brussels may think about it, this is something that Rome – and Milan – identifies as a dependent of Italian countrywide hobby. And considering the timeless Chinese love affair with all manifestations of Made in Italy, win-win, yet again, wins.