Source: China Daily Published: 2016-6-17
President Xi Jinping has proposed more cooperation on major projects with Serbia ahead of his state visit to Belgrade.
China wants to share development opportunities and achievements with Serbia, Xi said in an article published by Politika, a daily Serbian newspaper.
The two countries should increase bilateral trade and investment to benefit people in both nations, Xi said.
Describing Serbia as an "eternal friend and sincere partner" of China, he highlighted the bilateral friendship that dates to the 1950s when China established diplomatic ties with Yugoslavia.
"There is a saying in Serbia that friends are the fruits of time," Xi said in his article.
The two countries will sign a number of cooperation documents covering areas including economic affairs, trade, production capacity and finance, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
Denis Depoux, deputy president of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants for Asia, said Serbia is one of the hot spots for investments in Europe, as the country seeks to join the European Union.
He said Serbia has been able to position itself as a destination with the lowest production costs in Europe and a high availability of labor with technical skills.
Economic growth in Central and East European nations has created many business opportunities for Chinese companies and investors, he said.
Xiang Junyong, an international relations researcher at Renmin University of China, said Xi`s visit will bring more Chinese investment to Serbia, where many Chinese companies have contracts to build rail, highway and bridge projects.
Sinisa Mali, the mayor of Belgrade, told China Central Television the two countries will sign an agreement worth 500 million euros ($561 million) on investment in the city`s sewage facilities. A Chinese company will also build an industrial park in Belgrade, he said, without disclosing the company`s name.
Liu Haixing, assistant foreign minister, said Xi will visit the Smederevo steel mill, which was founded in 1913 and acquired in April by Hesteel Group, China`s largest iron and steel business group in terms of production capacity.
In 2009, Serbia became the first country in Central or Eastern Europe to establish a strategic partnership with China.
In September last year, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and troops from the European country attended the parade in Beijing marking the 70th anniversary of victory in the World Anti-Fascist War.