Review Hari Stefanatos
Participants of the symposium of think tanks from SE Europe and China, on the framework of the second day of the Bled Strategic Forum on Wednesday, agreed that there is a great deal of potential for future economic cooperation, especially in infrastructure as well as in manufacturing and tourism.
Representatives of institutes, governments and business from 17 countries in a 16+1 format, where present at the meeting. Foreign Ministry State Secretary Igor Senčar referred to thepositive experience with China when it comes to foreign direct investment, using the examples of the successful investment in the production of electric buses in Maribor, and the productive cooperation between Slovenian and Chinese high-tech companies.
“Initiatives from the private sector should be particularly encouraged, since they usually have better chances of succeeding,” added Senčar, who also pointed to tourism as an opportunity for cooperation in the future.
Deputy Foreign Minister Wang Chao stressed China has backed the development of countries in Central and Eastern Europe with investments, especially in the field of energy and transport. Trade between China and the region amounted to US$ 28.8bn in the first half of 2014, while the projection for the end of the year is US$ 60bn, Wang announced. Slovenian-Chinese trade reached $2.1bn in 2013.
Wang also highlighting the most important future project that China wants to be part of, namely the Budapest-Belgrade motorway.