ROME, May 16 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. escalation of trade frictions with China will hurt Italy and other European countries, but will not halt the Asian nation's economic development, experts here have said.
In the latest flare-up of trade tensions between the world's largest two economies, Washington increased additional tariffs on 200 billion U.S. dollars' worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent earlier this month, and has threatened to raise tariffs on more Chinese imports.
In response, China has announced that it will raise additional tariffs on a range of U.S. imports from June 1, and "will fight to the end." It has also urged the United States to get back on the right track as soon as possible, and meet China halfway in achieving a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement on the basis of mutual respect.
If the row continues on this path, the trade frictions might "have a major impact in Italy or elsewhere in the European Union," said Matteo Giuliano Caroli, associate dean of the business school at Rome-based LUISS University.
The U.S. imposition of additional tariffs on Chinese goods would be bad news for Italy, which has barely exited its third recession in a decade after the economy grew a modest 0.2 percent in the first quarter this year, said the economist in international business.
Caroli and other experts agreed that any significant disruption in the global economy would impact the demand for Italian-made goods and raise the cost of materials and products that help fuel the Italian economy.
"Import tariffs of 25 percent on Chinese goods arriving in the United States are enormous. It's out of proportion with everything else," said Alessia Amighini, co-head of the Asia Program at the Italian Institute for International Political Studies, a think tank.
"It could easily derail any hopes for economic growth in Italy, but that is the least of it," Amighini told Xinhua. "In a global economy that is as interconnected as it is, the results could be devastating."
As regards the Chinese economy, Italian experts said they are optimistic about its growth despite the pressure from the U.S.-China trade tensions and some other factors.
"I do not expect a further slowdown for the Chinese economy," said Caroli, noting that China is in the middle of a transition from a "world factory" to innovation-driven, higher-quality development.
"This would likely ensure the country is going to keep expanding over the next few years, not at the same rates seen in the first phase, but still with a consistent growth," Caroli said.
Alberto Forchielli, founding partner of Sino-European private equity firm Mandarin Capital, said the core of the Chinese economy "remains strong," and "is in any case bound to have a strong productivity increase in the next years, thanks to strong investment in innovation."
"A positive factor is that China is successfully overcoming the so-called middle income trap," he said.