Italy has officially informed China that it is quitting the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), dismissing fears the move might sour relations and damage the Italian economy, government sources said on Wednesday, Report informs, citing Reuters.
In 2019, Italy became the first and so far the only major Western nation to join the trade and investment program, ignoring warnings from the United States that it might let China take control of sensitive technologies and vital infrastructure.
However, when Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni took office last year, she said she wanted to withdraw from the deal, which was championed by President Xi Jinping, saying it had brought no significant gains to Italy.
The 2019 accord expires in March 2024, and an Italian government source said Rome had sent Beijing a letter “in recent days” informing China that it would not be renewing the pact.
There was no immediate comment from China.