Roundup: Italian officials, experts call for single but nuanced EU policy towards China

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ROME, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Italian government officials and experts call on the European Union (EU) to reduce restrictions on member states willing to enhance trade cooperation with China.

Italian government's top China expert Michele Geraci, who is also undersecretary of state of the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, said that the EU should negotiate trade deals as a single entity, but it should also take into account each member state's uniqueness.

"When (European officials) discuss trade policy with, let's say China, the goal is to maximize the benefit for Europe as a whole because Europe is a single market," Geraci said. "But we also want to add an analysis on a country by country level."

Geraci said the country by country analysis would help convince countries with the "potential for trade with China." He said the goal of the EU policy should be to make it easier for member states to work with China within a EU framework.

Geraci was based in China for a decade and is seen as the main driving force behind Italy's decision to become the first member of the Group of Seven to participate in China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

"In part because of the history of strong economic ties and in part because of the current economic situation, I think the European Union and China are each other's most relevant economic partner," Giuliano Noci, a professor of strategy and marketing at the Polytechnic University of Milan, told Xinhua.

"The European Union must find a way to further strengthen that relationship while taking into account each member state's priorities. It is important that dialogue between European member states continue when it comes to China," he added.

"The challenge for the European Union is to find the balance between being a single, united economic power without disregarding the needs of individual member states," said Renzo Cavalieri, a professor of East Asian law at Ca'Foscari University in Venice. Enditem

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