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China to continue to encourage companies to invest in Macedonia

Chinese government will not change its policy towards Macedonia. Traditional friendship between two countries is a strong basis and I believe that any party that comes on power will not change the policy towards China, Lu Shan, senior official of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated at the meeting attended by the representatives of the media from the programme “16 + 1” for countries from Central and Eastern Europe, MIA reports from China.



Both countries have joint projects and work on them continuously in recent years, Shan said answering journalist question.

We will continue to encourage our companies to explore opportunities to invest in Macedonia. This policy is not exclusive only for Macedonia, but for all the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, Shan said, who at a meeting in Beijing informed the media about the success that has been realized with the implementation of the initiative “16 + 1.”

Macedonia is among the first countries that joined this initiative and uses funds for construction of roads including motorway sections Miladinovci – Stip and Kicevo – Ohrid. Infrastructure projects were a priority in the framework of cooperation of China with the 16 countries of Central and Eastern Europe whereat US$10 billion special credit line was established in 2012 however the cooperation was extended to more areas as tourism, health, education, culture…

Shan said that in the past five years Chinese investments in the Central and Eastern European countries have increased to US$8 billion. Many Chinese companies decided to invest in these countries thus contributing by paying taxes and creating new jobs. Moreover, China import to these countries was also increased. They are buying meat from Macedonia and several other countries in the region, he underlined.

The establishment of the Investment Fund for Central and Eastern Europe was announced at last year’s fifth summit of the process “16 + 1” in Riga, which will manage the funds that China will invest in these countries. The first Chinese investments following the establishment of this Fund, headquartered recently in Shanghai, are expected to be announced in the coming months.

According to the representative of the Fund, there are many competing challenges in Central and Eastern Europe. This region has great potential for industrial and manufacturing sector, it has cheap workforce, fairly well educated staff and uses good technology. They see investment opportunities in the automobile industry, agriculture, e-sales, tourism, infrastructure and other industries.

We have identified several potential goals and projects, he informed, adding that so far the Fund representatives visited 13 of the 16 countries and will soon visit the remaining three.

In which country we will invest depends on the opportunities offered by the government, Fund’s representatives said, adding that in some countries they were faced with some of the obstacles from a legislative character. It is easier to invest in countries that are not members of the European Union than in those which are part of the European family, so that one of the reasons for the establishment of this Fund is overcoming these obstacles, he said.

Opening of branch office of the Chinese Bank in Serbia will facilitate the investment process in this country but also in other countries where Chinese companies want to open businesses.

The 6th summit of imitative “16 + 1” will be held in Hungary.

The 16+1 format is an initiative by the People’s Republic of China aimed at intensifying and expanding cooperation with 11 EU Member States and 5 Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Macedonia) in the fields of investments, transport, finance, science, education, and culture. In the framework of the initiative, China has defined three potential priority areas for economic cooperation: infrastructure, high technologies, and green technologies.

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