International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Econ journo: Triple danger of Serbia’s economic cooperation with China

September 20, 2021

Mijat Lakicevic, an economic journalist, warned on Monday about the triple danger of Serbia's economic cooperation with China in huge loans, much higher cost, weak protection of the environment.

The independent experts estimated the loans Belgrade had so far taken from Beijing exceeded 15 billion euro. Besides, Serbia’s export to China in 2020 was about 330 million euros, while the import neared 2,7 billion euros, Lakicevic, an editor with the Belgrade independent Novi Magazin weekly, wrote for the Independence Union website.

„That is by far the largest foreign trade deficit Serbia has with any country,“ Mijatovic said.

At the same time,  „Serbia exports 2.2 billion euro to Germany while the import from that country is 3.1 billion, which is an acceptable foreign trade deficit of 900 million euro.“

Lakicevic said the infrastructure projects done by the Chinese were significantly more expensive than when realised by the international financial institutions.

„The flat section between Surcin and Obrenovac on the motorway between Belgrade and the central town of Cacak costs almost 10 million euros per kilometre. At the same time, in a publication on Corridor 10, published by the Ministry of Transport, the calculation was that constructing a motorway on similar terrain should cost between two to two and a half million euros per kilometre,“ Lakicevic said.

As he explained, the high-speed line Novi Sad-Subotica in the north, built by Chinese companies, cost 900 million euros or nine million euros per kilometre. On the other hand, 110 kilometre-long Nis-Dimitrovgrad railway in the south, financed by European Investment Bank (EIB), cost less than two million euros per kilometre. “

All that showed, Lakicevic said, the Chinese charge 50 percent above the actual price for the same job.

He added that Chinese conditions were significantly more unfavourable than those from the international financial institution’s loans. Also, Chinese companies do not care much about the environment, causing significant pollution in the eastern towns of Smederevo and Bor, where they have industrial plants.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/econ-journo-triple-danger-of-serbias-economic-cooperation-with-china/

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