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UPDATE 1-Italy's Salvini says Rome must prevent Iveco sale to China's FAW

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ROME, March 30 (Reuters) - Italy’s League party leader Matteo Salvini urged the government on Tuesday to prevent truckmaker Iveco from being sold off to a Chinese company, saying the Italian firm was a strategic asset that had to be protected.

Iveco is part of CNH Industrial, which in turn is controlled by Exor, the holding company of Italy’s Agnelli family. CNH said in January it was in talks with China’s FAW over the future of the truckmaker.

“It’s a disgrace,” Salvini told a group of foreign reporters when asked about a possible sale.

“I hope that the Italian government will do everything to safeguard, defend and protect a strategic asset. If we want to talk about sustainable mobility and ecological transition, we cannot lose a jewel like Iveco,” he added.

Salvini’s League is in a broad, national unity government and one of its most senior politicians, Giancarlo Giorgetti, is industry minister.

Giorgetti said earlier this month said that if CNH Industrial decided to sell Iveco to FAW, Rome would use its so-called “golden powers”, allowing it to veto or impose strict conditions on deals involving assets deemed of national interest.

Reporting by Crispian Balmer, writing by Giulio Piovaccari

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