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Awkward Timing as Italy Withdraws from BRI

That was then: former Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2019. Image: Parker Song / AFP.

Italy has announced its formal withdrawal from the Belt and Road Initiative after joining the China-centered infrastructure and investment project in 2019.

The timing of the announcement that Rome won’t renew its BRI commitment is notable. It came only a day before the EU-China summit, which kicks off on Thursday. The summit will likely be more contentious than usual, with European leaders expected to push China on the treatment of EU firms amid discussions around new tariffs on Chinese products.

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