The Slovenia Times

China's senior vice premier visiting Slovenia


The highest ranking Chinese official to visit Slovenia so far is expected to meet Prime Minister Miro Cerar and President Borut Pahor.

The visit is part of Zhang's tour that includes Estonia and Albania as well as meetings in Russia and Kazakhstan.

It is expected to focus on possibilities to further strengthen ties in all areas of common interest and on international topics, the Government Communication Office announced.

Economic ties will feature prominently, as trade has been growing in recent years to exceed EUR 1bn for the first time last year - Slovenia imported EUR 763m and exported EUR 271m-worth of goods, but the exports almost doubled compared to 2015.

Trade in the field in agriculture and food has been standing out, reaching EUR 12.3m in 2015, EUR 6.7m of which were Slovenian exports to China. Wine has been Slovenia's top export item.

Investment has meanwhile remained relatively modest, not surpassing a few million euros, but Chinese interest in Slovenia has been growing, which reflects the fact that Chinese investments abroad surpassed foreign investment in China last year.

Logistics and certain industries have been in the focus, with a Chinese investor for instance acquiring the operator of the Maribor airport for EUR 10m at the end of last year.

The two countries are also cooperating successfully as part of the 16+1 mechanism featuring China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries. Slovenia will host a meeting of the mechanism dedicated to agriculture in August.

Zhang is the first-ranked Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China, which has four vice premiers. He is in charge of finance, economic development, natural resources, the environment and housing. The third-ranked Vice Premier Wang Yang visited Slovenia in 2014 with a business delegation.


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