Strategic observation

News Analysis: U.S. elections could have long-term impact on Italy economy, politics

2018-11-08 07:10:27 (Beijing Time)         English.news.cn

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ROME, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- The results from a series of key elections in the United States could help pave the way to improved economic growth in Italy and other export-dependent countries, analysts said, though it is unlikely to happen in the near term.

Elections were held Tuesday for all 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, members of the country's Senate, and governorships. The results were mixed, but a key outcome saw the Democratic Party, which is opposed to U.S. President Donald Trump, win control of the lower house of Congress after an eight-year hiatus.

Analysts said that development is likely to create obstacles for Trump's agenda going forward.

In the first half of the Trump presidency, that agenda included increased tariffs on goods arriving from abroad. Other potential policies expected to have a major economic impact on the world's biggest economy include tax cuts and withdraws from various trade pacts.

"The fact that the opposition party can act as a check on Trump policies could prove to have a positive economic impact for some countries," Marcello Messori, director of the LUISS School of European Political Economy, told Xinhua.

Messori said that countries that depend on exports for a significant part of their overall economic output, such as Italy, could benefit if the Trump White House is forced to compromise on policies aimed at curbing U.S. imports. Additionally, Messori said, any U.S. policies that have an impact on strength of the U.S. dollar would have a ripple effect across the 19-nation euro currency zone, which includes Italy.

"There's no specific U.S. policy change we can expect at this point," Messori said. "But until now Trump had no significant opposition with (the Republic Party he leads) controlling both houses of Congress. That is no longer the case."

According to Mattia Diletti, a political scientist in the Department of Communication and Research at Rome's La Sapienza University, any impact the election results may have on Italy may take a while to reveal itself.

"In the near term, I don't think things will change too much," Diletti said in an interview. "There could very well be an impact down the line. But we have to wait to see what that might be."

Diletti speculated that one impact could come on the political front.

Since the current Italian government was installed on June 1, Trump has met with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte three separate times.

Trump has also expressed support for Italy's hardline policies against would-be asylum seekers -- a stance criticized by most other European countries, and has echoed some of the Conte government's skeptical views toward the European Union (EU).

Diletti said that if the shift of the balance of power means the Trump White House will focus more on domestic matters, it could force Italy to take a more conciliatory view toward the EU, its fellow member states, and other nations beyond Europe.

"Italy should probably have a more diversified partners than it does," Diletti said. "A change of policy in Washington could make Italy more likely to look beyond the U.S. for international support."