(Bloomberg) -- Italy is sensitive to its allies’ security concerns over the government’s plan to sign an agreement with China that will give Rome a role in the Belt and Road Initiative to open trade routes from Asia to Europe, Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi said.

It’s possible to protect one’s citizens and companies while at the same time doing good business with a country that is an economic power, Moavero Milanesi said in a television interview on Sky TG24. He added that China is a very large potential buyer of Italian goods, and his country is simply trying to catch up with allies like Germany that currently sell much more to China than Italy does.

The Italian government is working to firm up accords with Chinese companies involved in sectors ranging from banking to energy, ahead of a planned visit to Rome by Chinese President Xi Jinping next week. The country’s openness has fueled U.S. and European Union concerns about a G-7 country signing up for the Belt and Road infrastructure plan and ushering Chinese interests into strategic sectors such as telecoms and ports.

Moavero Milanesi said the government carefully monitors and protects its strategic sectors, which include defense and energy.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alessandra Migliaccio in Rome at amigliaccio@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net, Andrew Davis, James Amott

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.