What are the elements and the impact of the inclusion of scientific cooperation within the 2019 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in support of the Belt and Road Initiative between Italy and China? Like many other developed countries, Italy has played a role in contributing to China’s growth as a science and technology (S&T) power. Most S&T bilateral collaborations are decade-long and predate the MoU, suggesting that the importance of the latter is largely symbolic. Nonetheless, the MoU of March 2019 has reinforced the process of centralisation of S&T collaborations as well as a public debate that has grown to include matters regarding 5G technology and public procurement involving Chinese technology.
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