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Italian government invited Chinese automaker to build factories in Italy



The Meloni government, in a decision made after long meditation, decided at the end of 2023 not to renew the agreement with China regarding participation in the “Silk Road,” or “Belt and Road” initiative. Italy was the only major Western country to have joined the initiative, which was meant to facilitate the flow of Chinese investment, and its withdrawal, however, has had diplomatic repercussions.

Yet diplomatic relations have moved forward. An important Italy-China bilateral summit will be held in Verona on April 11 and 12. What is the state of economic and industrial relations between Italy and China? Can there be any positive developments in this area?

The SCMP newspaper, a semi-independent paper because it is based in Hong Kong but nevertheless takes up the positions of the Chinese government quite correctly, has devoted ample space to relations with Italy. After reporting extensively on the visit of Italian ambassador Massimo Ambrosetti to Hong Kong on the occasion of a performance by the Ballet Company of La Scala Theater in Milan, the Chinese media informs us of something that, in Italy, has not been publicized:

Ambrosetti said the bilateral partnership covers relations in the areas of vehicle manufacturing, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, culture, people-to-people ties, education, sports and more. It was reported that the Italian government has invited Chinese automakers BYD and Chery to build plants in Italy.

Hold on, so the Italian government has reportedly invited Chinese automakers Chery and BYD to build plants in Italy. This, if confirmed by national sources, would be very significant news not only for Italy but for the entire EU, and for a number of reasons:

  • from the national point of view, it would mark the unexpected vitality of the Meloni government in its relations with Beijing.
  • it would finally mark a break from subservience to the Stellantis group for the domestic auto sector.
  • It would be a tremendous blow to French and German automakers because they would find their competitor firmly anchored in Europe, within the EU’s borders, and at this point, the Commission’s whole plan to sanction imported cars from China for unfair competition would fall apart, since the BYD or Chery would be manufactured in the EU.

Of course, we don’t know anything else on this front, but the news of the possible construction of Leapmotor electric cars in Turin would be a move made ad hoc to anticipate the possible entry of Chinese competitors. The difference being that, unlike Stellantis, here not only a low-end model would be produced, but there would be the possibility of producing a whole range of cars, even those that are most frightening to the Franco-German industrial compact. If China would then use some

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