By Adnan Prekic – Podgorica
China is ready to continue and enhance cooperation with Montenegro, especially in the field of economy with investments in transport and energy infrastructure, it was announced after a meeting of the President of Montenegro, Filip Vujanovic and China Xi Jinping. The meeting between the two presidents comes on the eve of the announced major investments of Chinese companies in Montenegro. Chinese telecommunications company and infrastructure and China Road and Bridge Corporation received the contract to build a highway in Montenegro.
The realization of this project is awaiting for a green light from the China Exim Bank that will ok the loan that will finance the project. Chinese shipyards for several years built ships for the Montenegrin national maritime company and Chinese companies have expressed interest in investing in the construction of energy facilities.
Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic met with the President of National Republic of China Xi Jinping. Vujanovic expressed his satisfaction with the level of cooperation between Montenegro and the Republic of China in all areas, agreeing that the cooperation in the field of transport, maritime affairs and energy is the largest economic opportunity for the partnership. The President particularly expressed satisfaction with complete willingness of the Chinese telecommunications company and infrastructure (CCCC) and China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), to immediately begin construction of the highway Smokovac – Mateševo, with the expectation that the EXIM Bank receives government support for updating the decision on the loan. Montenegrin President said that the decision of the EXIM Bank is in the final stage, that is why he said to the Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping that state support for its adoption will accelerate a final decision on the loan.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said that despite the fact that the two countries only established diplomatic ties eight years ago, China-Montenegro relations have developed well. China has always viewed Montenegro as a trustworthy friend and a good partner in central and eastern Europe, and would like to maintain high-level transactions with the country and enhance dialogue at all levels to strengthen mutual trust, he said.
China will push forward cooperation in areas of transportation & infrastructure, energy, tourism, and will expand cultural and personnel exchanges to promote cooperation between China and central and eastern European countries, Xi went on.
Construction of the highway after the restoration of Montenegro’s independence was designed as one of the most important national projects. The tender for the construction of the highway was announced in 2008 and in October 2009 the Prime Ministers of Montenegro, Serbia and Croatia have officially cut the ribbon for the construction of the highway. A section was supposed to be build by the croatian company Konstruktror which could not provide a bank guarantee for the completion of the project, which is the reason the whole deal fell through. Next year, for the first time the Chineese appeared as a potential investor and the Montenegrin government from June 2012 to June 2013 has been negotiating with several chinese companies.
After a year of negotiations, the job to build the section Smokovac – Mateševo was assigned to a consortium of chinese companies CCCC and CRBC. The project will cost 809.5 million and its beginning only awaits credit of the Chinese Exim Bank. This bank for the construction of the highway has offered the government a grace period of five years on a loan with an annual interest rate of two percent and a repayment period of 20 years. The construction of the entire 170 kilometers long highway is expected to take four years.