China-Italy BRI Deal Could Be as Historic as Marco Polo

In 1271, Marco Polo traveled from his home in Venice to China via the Silk Road. The Travels of Marco Polo had huge influence. Italy is now signing agreements to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

China is investing in a new Venice port and in three other ports in Italy. This can boost trade between China and Europe and provide economic benefits.

Four ports in Italy may be in line for Chinese investment under China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

There is a good analysis by Liu Rui, senior fellow with the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.

In February 2017, China Communications Construction Company signed a contract with Italy for the design of Phase 1 of Venice Offshore Port with 4C3. This will be a 20-meter deep offshore port will be built in the sea area 15 kilometers from the Malamocco Port and the offshore terminal project will be able to handle large container ships holding 18,000 to 22,000 TEUs.

Chinese companies are fixing the port of Trieste. Trieste is opposite Venice. These ports could revive the role Italy played during the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Italy will be the first of the G7 countries to participate in the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Italy has debt problems, an aging population and a sluggish economy.

Sea trade between Europe and Asia is developing rapidly. 63 percent of the total trade between China and Europe is by sea.

Chinese firms have done business at an important Greek port. China has a 35-year franchise right to the No.2 and No.3 container terminals of the Piraeus port and own 67 percent stake in the port.

The Greek port has rapidly revived and has become one of the most active logistics centers. The port has contributed significantly to the local economy.

The re-emergence of the Greek port has posed a challenge to Italy. Italian ports are superior to Greek ports. The Greek ports are located at the edge of Europe, while Trieste and Venice are closer to the heart of Europe. If freighters could go up the Adriatic Sea to Venice and Trieste, it will be quicker for them to get to the heart of Europe by road and rail.

Italy has stronger industrial and logistics capabilities than Greece. The country’s ports have the potential to build warehouses and trade processing zones.

SOURCES – Global Times, South China Morning Times

Written By Brian Wang.

27 thoughts on “China-Italy BRI Deal Could Be as Historic as Marco Polo”

  1. About a year and a corona virus later, Italians would rather keep China at arms length. The BRI is a mode of transport to export Chinese germs more efficiently.

  2. Greeks eventually decided not to break apart with Europe (not just Germany) because it was more convenient to them. Besides that fact, I suspect that being under some other non-European nation sphere of influence might have caused a whole bunch of ideological issues.
    This sort of cheap meme of “sending the Germans to hell” is something that spreads through a substrate made of ignorance and conspiracy theories, the promise of a revanche for frustrated folks from all over the world, but it doesn’t have a factual base. They got some tough clauses in the deal to save them, but any other alternative would have undoubtedly been more painful in both the short and the long term.

  3. I initially stated:

    the Brexit referendum was a consultative and non-binding

    At the moment no law/bill/act has been provided indicating otherwise. You can declare whatever you want, but legally binding has a specific meaning. And the Brexit referendum is not binding. As I said in previous comments, to prove me wrong please state the specific act/bill that makes it binding.

  4. I remember reading about the finding of large gas deposits offshore of Israel and Egypt. It will take a while to develop but Europe would be a big market for the gas.

  5. Nope. You are confusing a “promise to perform” by the government with law.

    Get more education next time instead of watching TV, it may increase your comprehension abilities.

  6. Nope. It says what it says. Very clearly. Let me help:


  7. By definition: ‘Legal’ comes from the Latin ‘legis’ which means law.
    This is a leaflet: no legislative decree or ministerial act was formulated by the UK government and no law was promulgated by the parliament making the referendum binding. If you know otherwise please state the law/act id number and the date such act was approved.

  8. Apart from when it steals rainfall and river water from other countries for its own gain. But ignoring that, no, it doesn’t and it won’t.

  9. I am Italian and in my life I studied, lived and worked in Italy, Switzerland, US and Sweden, it is definitely NOT in the best interest of Italy (nor of it’s citizens) to leave EU. As I am pretty sure the Brexit it is not in the best interest of UK.
    Regarding your statement:

    Maybe then GB could force it’s politicians into doing what was agreed to, and what is the law

    You are incorrect as the Brexit referendum was a consultative and non-binding referendum. While I agree that the will of the people should be honored, it has been already proven that the public opinion in UK has been influenced by Russian interference (which is not in the best interest of UK nor EU).

    So I really think UK politicians should take responsibility put everything on hold and eventually call for a second referendum while providing good information or simply wait for the general election and see which party gets the majority.


  10. BRI stands for Belt and Road Initiative.

    The Road is a railroad, and yes that is trains.

    But the Belt is shipping. And this is the end of the belt.

    Shipping is cheaper than trains over long distances, even if the rail is constant gauge, no borders the whole way. Especially for the lower value, non-time-sensitive stuff.

  11. They are different things. Man does not live on bread alone, but also on cheap energy AND cheap clothes and electronics.

    And power lines from North Africa to Europe are being done. A friend of mine is working on one from Eqypt, up through Cyprus, to Greece. (Though there are also gas lines, but the gas runs the other way. Egypt may be the largest gas producer in NA but it still uses more than it makes.)

  12. Wait a minute, wasn’t the core of the BRI improve land logistics from china, primarily cargo via train, to europe and africa? This deal would suggest that because there is no common rail gauge from china to europe, forcing one to unload/reload trains at border intermodal terminals, is slower than shipping directly to an italian or greek seaport. If the rail lines have suitable throughput though, the semi-obvious solution is a rail gauge changing cargo container train that can go nonstop, fronted by a mixed power source locomotive set, that can get power from diesels or overhead wire, and can drive all wheels. Depending on the circumstances, that might also include powering some of the individual train cars as well for better acceleration, since this would likely be a fixed length scheduled service train, much like how some ships are scheduled as a regular service between two ports.

    Or is this another soft power move to gain control of seaports again?

  13. It is widely acknowledged that there are some serious issues with the Marco Polo story. But an essay that starts off by proclaiming that Napoleon was a hero is a weird source of reference.

  14. Don’t be fooled by the propaganda. Chinese so-called ‘debt’ is actually highly profitable investment. Not only to they know how to build infrastructure, they know how to pay for it.

    One of their early mega projects, eight years in the building, the Dujiangyan Water Diversion system, repays its cost of capital every 24 hours.

    In fact, it has done so since the first day the water began flowing, 2,270 years ago.

  15. Nonsense. China’s official stats have always been rock solid, as we can see by reviewing the past 70 years and comparing them to facts on the ground.

  16. The BRI is designed to make countries economically and politically dependent on China?

    Rubbish. There is nothing in its inception, design or charter that promotes such an outcome.

    On the contrary. It is designed to do for member countries what China’s domestic policies did for its provinces–some of which are much bigger than member countries–enrich them.

    Just because we’re accustomed to the US impoverishing other countries doesn’t mean that China does so too. It doesn’t and it won’t.

  17. Leaks from high officials suggest that last year China economy grew by only %1.7… China is building a brand, and like Russia it is in their DNA to build an Empire as they have done it before… Yet if they don’t have the economic power to justify that they are spending their resources and other global resources in ways that could be spent better in simple economic terms, not taking into account the regression that their backward totalitarian regime is bringing to the world. There are a lot of questioning regarding the economy of the one belt that ties the world to one empire initiative.

  18. This smacks of previous deals with China where the Chinese get to dump their products on the unsuspecting people and wipe out there manufacturing. They economic benefits will be a pittance for the average Italian family. However, as with previous Chinese/American deals, a select few investors at the top will rake in the cash…
    Italy: look closer at this “belt and road” jive – before your leaders sucker your entire nation into another bad deal…

  19. Consider that these agreements will remain,when Italy follows it’s heart, and the best interests of it’s citizens, and leaves the EU. Maybe then GB could force it’s politicians into doing what was agreed to, and what is the law.

  20. I thought that this type of China would be an offer to Greece about 8 years ago. The Greeks have some Med-front land that could have been leased to China for 99 years. With that backing they could have told the Germans to go to hell … and now they would have been in good shape. But alas. This Italy deal is too late in the game as the EU is heading back in recession and China debt is becoming more risky.

  21. Ports are nice but gas pipe lines and electric transmission lines from North Africa and the Middle East to Europe would be better.

  22. So why do the southern EU nations have to go to the Chinese to develop these ports?

    Because the EUs German & Dutch bankers won’t touch these ‘investments’. They won’t be profitable. Chinese SOE’s don’t operate on profit, but just cash flow and job creation back home.

  23. It is historic, but in a different sense. China belt is a design for countries around the world to become China economically and politically dependent. Economically weak countries are falling into this. It is the first time that it happens with a major European economy. Eventually it is going to fail as it becomes evident that the Chinese economy is slowing down and failing to become freer.

Comments are closed.