The Slovenia Times

PM Cerar to Attend Central Europe-China Summit


Cerar will also hold bilateral meetings with Chinese PM Li Keqiang and his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vučić to debate economic cooperation, Cerar's office said before the visit.

The summit will be yet another opportunity for Slovenia to look for fresh FDI, which the government sees as one of its priorities, according to the PM's office.

It maintains that such events encourage economic cooperation at a time when it is seeking to boost trade with China, attract Chinese investors and position Slovenia as an attractive tourist destination.

Besides the summit, Serbia will host a business forum featuring over 2,000 people from the 17 countries, among them representatives of 15 Slovenian companies.

The Belgrade summit comes less than a month after Slovenia was visited by Chinese Deputy PM Wang Yang with a business delegation in what was one of the highest-profile visits from China in recent years.

At the time, Slovenian Agriculture Minister Dejan Židan described Slovenia as an EU country that is "an exceptionally appropriate gateway for the Chinese economy".

However, Slovenia's trade with the world's second-largest economy is rather modest, standing at EUR 427m in the first seven months of the year.

China would like to invest 10 billion US dollars in Central and Eastern Europe, especially in infrastructure.

Its investments abroad are expected to exceed foreign investments in China for the first time this year.

Serbia places a great emphasis on the visit by Chinese PM Li, which will be the first visit by a Chinese prime minister there in almost three decades.

Li will meet all Serbian top officials, and together with Serbian PM Vučić open a bridge over the Danube which has been built by the Chinese.

An agreement between Serbia, China and Hungary is also expected to be signed to upgrade the railway line between the Serbian and Hungarian capitals.

The summit will be subject to extremely severe security: as many as 10,000 police officers will be on duty as opposed to 7,000 during a recent visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The third summit of leaders from China and 16 Central European countries comes after the first one was hosted by Poland two year ago and the second by Romania in 2013.

There is a great deal of interest in it not only among businesses and politicians, but also among the media: as many as 950 reporters have been accredited.


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