Italy’s China Chill Runs Deeper Than Fears Over the Coronavirus

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(Bloomberg) —

Almost a year after Italy broke with its U.S. and European partners to sign up to China’s influence-extending Belt and Road initiative, relations between Rome and Beijing risk deteriorating rather than getting closer.

The anticipated economic boost for Italy has yet to materialize, with its trade deficit with China widening further last year. And if Rome’s intention was to generate goodwill with Beijing, the government undermined that effort with its decision to halt flights to China over worries about the spread of the coronavirus.

As Italy endures its own deadly outbreak, President Sergio Mattarella has made a show of reaching out to Chinese nationals in an attempt to quash anti-foreigner sentiment — earning praise from President…

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