ROME, March 23 (KUNA) -- Rome and Beijing signed Saturday a memorandum of understanding (MoU) over Italy's joining China's Road and Belt Initiative, making the European country the first G7 nation to join the initiative.
Italy and China also signed USD three billion worth of 29 bilateral agreements.
The signing ceremony was signed following talks between Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The Road and Belt Initiative aims at building railways, roads and ports linking China, Europe and Africa.
The MoU was signed by chairman of the National Development Commission He Lifeng and Italy's Deputy Prime Minister and minister of Economic Development Luigi Di Maio.
Ministers from both sides signed 19 agreements including prevention of dual taxation, space exploration, and twinning between cities and provinces.
Presidents of Italy's Eni, Snam and Pension Fund and other firms signed 10 trade agreements.
Conte said following the signing ceremony Italy and China should establish "more effective relations and build better bonds." Di Maio, also leader of the Five Stars Party, the largest party in the ruling coalition, said the value of the agreements signed today were 2.5 billion euros (USD 2.9 billion), which could rise to 20 billion euros (USD 22.6 billion).
The number of agreements were originally 50 but many were cancelled specially those related to telecommunications following a fears among the Americans and Europeans over China's alleged interference in Italian economy. (end)