China, CEE countries to accelerate win-win cooperation

China, CEE countries to accelerate win-win cooperation

The fourth summit of leaders from China and Central and Eastern European countries has just concluded in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou.

Leaders from China and 16 CEE countries have discussed ways of further enhancing connectivity and advancing production capacity cooperation.

The two sides have also identified several priority areas for collaboration over the next 5 years, ranging from infrastructure to finance and agriculture.

On the sidelines of the summit, China has signed separate deals with Hungary and Serbia on the construction and revamping of a rail link between Belgrade and Budapest.

Premier Li Keqiang, who attended the summit, has proposed the establishment of a '16+1' multilateral financial firm to promote projects under the principle of commercialization.China and central and eastern European (CEE) countries enjoy broad cooperation prospects and the two parties should build on previous fruits and accelerate win-win cooperation, Premier Li Keqiang said here on Nov 24.

Bilateral trade between China and the 16 CEE countries reached over $60 billion last year amid sluggish global economic growth, indicating tremendous trade and investment potential, Premier Li made the remarks while addressing the opening ceremony of the fifth economic and trade forum between China and CEE countries.

The two parties enjoy broad cooperation prospects and could speed up and deepen partnership in many fields, the Premier pointed out.

Premier Li called for the acceleration of connectivity projects to link regional transportation and Internet infrastructure development with the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.

China is willing to invest in the construction and upgrade of infrastructure in port areas of the Baltic Sea, the Adriatic Sea and the Black Sea to boost cooperation and connectivity.

Meanwhile, China will support CEE countries in their industrial upgrading with its advanced capacity in automobiles, steel, shipbuilding, port equipment and engineering machinery, the Premier said.

Trade in the agricultural sector will be another key cooperation field and China will support the imports of quality produce from CEE countries through means such as expositions, according to the Premier.

To facilitate bilateral investment, China is mulling setting up a $3-billion investment fund and has proposed to establish a “16+1” multilateral financial firm to expand financing channels and reduce financing cost.

Premier Li called for more support and involvement of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in bilateral investment and trade to draw their wisdom and proposed setting up an innovation platform to serve bilateral cooperation of SMEs.

Premier calls for joint approach with Serbia

China and Serbia should work together to implement key agreements, Premier Li Keqiang said on Nov 26.

He and his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic witnessed the signing of seven documents covering areas including highways and cooperation on industrial parks.

The two countries should combine to implement agreements on railways, roads and power stations, and China is willing to link its development strategy with Serbia’s, Premier Li said.

He made the remarks while meeting with Vucic in Beijing. The Serbian Prime Minister was paying an official visit to China after attending the Fourth Summit of China and Central and Eastern European Countries in Suzhou, Jiangsu province.

The Chinese government encourages domestic companies to enhance cooperation on production capacity in areas including iron and steel to provide high-quality construction materials at low cost for Serbia’s infrastructure construction, Premier Li said.

He also said China wants to push forward with construction of industrial parks along the banks of the River Danube.

Vucic thanked Premier Li for his reception in Suzhou and Beijing, saying, “Serbian delegations have seldom received such an enthusiastic and hospitable reception in other countries.”

His country will push ahead with construction of a Serbian-Hungarian railway, and China is welcome to take part in building highways in Serbia along with industrial parks and steel plants, Vucic said.

On Nov 24, the two countries signed a contract to modernize and rebuild the Serbian section of the Serbian-Hungarian railway. The line will cut travel time between Belgrade and Budapest from eight hours to three.

During the meeting on Nov 26, China Road and Bridge Corp signed a memorandum of understanding with the Serbian government to develop a Chinese industrial park in Serbia.

The company also signed an initial agreement with the Serbian Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure on building a highway.

Both nations signed agreements on the quarantine of beef products imported from Serbia, on education cooperation in the next five years, and on Chinese scientists taking part in assessing and appraising Serbian scientific projects.

Hebei Steel Group Ltd and the Serbian government signed a framework cooperation agreement.

This is expected to result in a contract being signed next year, according to Liu Haixing, director-general of the Department of European Affairs of the Foreign Ministry.

Liu made the remark when he was asked to comment on China’s participation in the privatization of Serbian state-owned enterprises.

“It would be an important direction for China-Serbia cooperation in the future,” he said.

Liu said the two countries have made considerable progress in cooperation projects, including power plants and highway construction.

“The Serbian prime minister also expressed willingness to step up cooperation with China on industrial park construction as well as cooperation in the iron and steel sector,” he said.

China and Serbia also signed a memorandum of understanding covering cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative.

The strategy, put forward by the Chinese government, refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It uses trade and investment to boost ties along the ancient trade routes and elsewhere.

Premier Li meets Macedonian PM
Premier Li Keqiang met with Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski in Beijing on Nov 26, vowing more cooperation in infrastructure building and industrialization.

Calling Macedonia a reliable friend and partner to China, Li said China is willing to work with Macedonia in upgrading railways, expressways and power stations and to expand their trade in agricultural products.

He pledged to encourage Chinese enterprises to participate in Macedonia’s cement plant and industrial park construction.

Gruevski, who is in China for the fourth summit between China and 16 central and eastern European (CEE) countries, said this “16+1” mechanism has greatly strengthened CEE-China cooperation.

Macedonia welcomes the involvement of Chinese companies in Macedonian hydroelectric, gas, transportation, industrial park, food, cement and metal processing projects, he said.

Rama-Keqiang: More Chinese investments in Albania
The meeting of the Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, with his Chinese Counterpart, Li Keqiang, focused on encouraging joint projects and making them concrete.

The Prime Minister’s press office says “Rama updated the Chinese counterpart with the progress of four important infrastructure projects, thanks to the understanding agreement between the Albanian government and the Pacific construction company.

PM Rama valued as very important the signing between the Transportation Ministers of Albania, Montenegro and the President of Pacific Construction, for building the Blue Corridor. Bosnia and Croatia will be part of this agreement as interested parties.

The press release says another important moment of cooperation was the finalization of the negotiations for the Arber Road, and the Chinese support for the new Industrial Park at the Durres Economic Area. PM Keqiang promised to encourage the involvement of many Chinese companies. This park will create 30.000 new jobs.

PM Li Keqiang has declared that the government of China is ready to support the developmentn of the port infrastructure of Albania.

Chinese top officials voice interest in developing Montenegro
Prime Minister of Montenegro Milo Đukanović participated in the 4th Summit of Heads of Government of China and Central and Eastern Europe Countries, within the framework of the 16 + 1 cooperation mechanism, which was held on 24-25 November in Suzhou, China.

During his stay in China, the Prime Minister met with his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang in Beijing. He also took part in a meeting between President of China Xi Jinping and heads of government of CEE countries.

The meeting with Prime Minister Keqiang in particular affirmed the implementation of the Bar-Boljare highway's project and underlined the possibility of further cooperation in the field of infrastructure, not only through the construction of the Adriatic-Ionian highway, which may represent a good mechanism for linking the capacities of the Berlin Process for Western Balkan countries to the 16 + 1 initiative launched by China, but also through the development of the Port of Bar, PM Đukanović told the press.

“Chinese “One belt, one route” project also includes a sub-project related to seaports. At yesterday’s summit, China voiced interest in establishing cooperation with the ports on the Adriatic, Baltic and Black Sea. We referred to the opportunities of upgrading and developing the Port of Bar and carrying out an industrial zone sub-project, which would be of great benefit to further industrial and technological development of Montenegro,” he explained.

PM Đukanović added that, during his stay in China, he met with representatives of the Chinese companies interested in boosting cooperation in energy and tourism.

“I encountered many large Chinese companies interested in using our hydro and thermal potential. We also talked about improving cooperation in the field of tourism. In that regard, Montenegro is making efforts towards simplifying procedures to facilitate the arrival of Chinese tourists to Montenegro and is working together with others in the region and Europe to arrange joint tourism packages for the Chinese tourists, who would visit our region and Montenegro within their ten-day or two-week stay in Europe,” Prime Minister Đukanović underlined.

Chinese Government provided around 8.6 Million BAM for B&H

Government of the People’s Republic of China reached a decision on donating 30 million Yuan to Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to improve and increase the volume of trade, said the Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang during yesterday’s meeting with the Chairman of the Council of Minister of B&H Denis Zvizdić.

The Chinese Prime Minister greeted the initiative which B&H got at the 4th Summit of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe for the organization of economic forum which is to be held in B&H in the first half of 2016.

The Chairman Zvizdić informed Keqiang about the projects in the process of implementation and mentioned the agreement signed three days ago regarding the construction of the thermal power plant Banovići amounting to around 400 million EUR, with the power of 350 megawatts, and with projects which are in preparation for implementation in the coming period and whose value amounts to two billion EUR.

On this occasion, Zvizdić also mentioned possibilities of investing in energetic sector and highlighted that there are space and possibilities in this sector for improvement of cooperation in areas such as hydro and wind power plants.

Zvizdić said that the traffic infrastructure is also an exceptionally important and attractive segment where a great potential for cooperation exists. The Chairman Zvizdić also presented possibilities of cooperation in the fields of industrial production, especially in the fields of wood and metal industry, and invited the Chinese companies to be integrators of process of progress of these significant fields which have the capacity to employ young people up to 27 years of age.

Chairman Zvizdić highlighted the significance of quality customs agreement which B&H has with the European Union, as well as with the countries of the Western Balkans, Turkey, Switzerland, Norway and Ireland. He said that the entire specter of products might be produced in B&H and exported to the mentioned countries.

Zvizdić said that, in accordance with the guidelines from the 4th Summit of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and China, the export of B&H agricultural products to China might be increased and on the basis of previous good cooperation requested that B&H gets a preferential treatment with facilitated quotas for certain products in which interest exists at the Chinese market, and which B&H might export.

Chairman Zvizdić invited the Chinese Prime Minister to visit B&H which he accepted and said that he is ready to visit B&H in the coming period.

Prime Minister Keqiang said that B&H and China have determined bilateral relations and that China respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of B&H. furthermore, he expressed readiness for even more active cooperation on improvement of economic, trade and other relations between the two countries.