In 10 years in China everything has changed, and Italy?

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If you walk in the streets in Italy and then you walk in the streets in Shanghai, you don’t need to do any analysis to understand why countries grow at zero percent like here and why some other countries grow at eight percent, as it did in the past in China.
You just see immediately. And I’ve been witnessing 10 years of really important social and economic changes under my eyes. I’ve come back to Europe and I don’t see any changes.

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This text is a transcription of the video: China’s gateway to Europe – the New Silk Road by DW Documentary

Next time I go to Shanghai after a few months, I will look at the underground map because there will be new lines.

Michele Geraci is known as Mister China. After working as an investment banker and spending ten years in Shanghai as a professor of economics he became Under Secretary of State in Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development and negotiated the Silk Road deal with China. He used to commute constantly between China and Italy but now the coronavirus has forced him to do business with the Chinese via video calls.

I’m Sicilian. I’m binding my hopes in China, that the cooperation with China will help the tourist industry to grow in Sicily. Last year we had President Xi Jinping here. Sicily wants to see more Chinese tourists. The Chinese are very curious about Italy.

Geraci no longer holds political office. The government he was part of only lasted for 15 months — but the letter of intent that he negotiated with China is still valid.

When I came in, I took on this project and actually delivered it. So accelerated the process, made the final agreement with the Chinese counterparts and we implemented, and we signed it. And I do think that this is the best economic opportunity that Italy has. To cooperate with China, doing business together.

This deal with China alarmed Europe. Italy is, after all, one of the EU’s founding members — as well as part of NATO. Many see the signing of this contract as a break with the old alliances. The logic of the Italian government back then was purely economic. They said everyone else is doing business with China too — even if they have no official agreement.

There is absolutely no contradiction and no conflict with the European strategy. If someone worries about the fact that if China invests, then you have to give them back something: China has invested in Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Spain, Malta, Istanbul and Greece and the UK — all ports in Europe have Chinese ownership.

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