Serbian president aims to boost trade
Updated: 2013-08-26 08:02
By Zhao Yanrong (China Daily)
Serbia wants to strengthen cooperation with China by providing various projects for Chinese investors in the energy, infrastructure, agriculture, textile and metallurgical industries, and tourism and culture.
Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic made the remarks on Sunday at the beginning of his five-day state visit to China. Nikolic is scheduled to meet President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and other Chinese leaders in Beijing this week.
"My visit will be aimed at strengthening our strategic partnership with China and ensuring progress in realizing existing investment projects, and also at forming initiatives for new forms of cooperation in terms of Chinese investment in the Serbian economy and other modes of cooperation," Nikolic told China Daily.
Tomislav Nikolic, Serbian president
"Bilateral ties between the two countries are excellent, and we believe that cooperation will deepen in the future in all fields, especially economic ties. Our doors are open to our Chinese friends, and we believe that we have a lot to learn from each other."
After the United States, China was the second-largest trading partner of the European Union from January to May this year, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU.
But China has become the top target of the EU's punitive trade measures in the first seven months of this year, based on the latest report issued by the European Commission on Wednesday, Xinhua News Agency reported.
The report said that all four EU anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations from Jan 1 through July 31 were filed against Chinese products, including seamless steel pipes, solar glass and agglomerated stone.
Meanwhile, five of the seven definitive duties imposed by the EU were levied on Chinese products, including steel products and kitchenware.
"The important step has already been made with the decision of the European Commission to ask member states for their agreement on a mandate to open negotiations on an investment agreement with China," Nikolic said.
"Serbia is one of the key players in the region, with an excellent geo-strategic position between East and West," he said. With EU integration talks coming up, it is "potentially very attractive for foreign investments", he said.
"Chinese investors have opportunities to invest in Serbia, with its educated workforce, cheap energy and overland export to EU countries. The only requirement is that 51 percent of the products originate in Serbia," Nikolic added.
To woo more foreign investment, the Serbian government is providing many preferential policies in taxes and administrative procedures.
Nikolic said that because Chinese investors are hardworking and honest like Serbian businesspeople, Serbia's experience with its Chinese partners has been very good, and both sides found it easy to understand each other.
"Warm friendship and understanding between our peoples, a common history - suffering and the struggle for freedom - and similar issues regarding sovereignty and territorial integrity are the things bringing us together with invisible but unbreakable ties," the Serbian president said.