A senior delegation of the Union of Chambers of Commerce (SSC) led by President Danela Arsovska, traditionally this year also participates at the 8th Summit and Economic Forum of the Heads of Government of NR. China and 16 countries from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Within the Economic Forum, attended by over 1000 delegates, meetings were held in the direction of further expanding the cooperation with China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, as part of the 16 + 1 platform, and this year’s focus is the transfer of knowledge and technologies.

“Export, infrastructure, innovation, investments are the focus of this year’s 16 + 1 Economic Forum on Building New Bridges through openness, innovation and partnership. Every year since its inception, the Alliance is involved in the PRC initiatives to increase business cooperation, with a particular emphasis on promoting the China Mega Project “One Belt, One Way” for the infrastructural and economic linking of Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. This year, special emphasis is placed on innovation as a globe trend that increases competitiveness and generates growth in all sectors of the economy and is one of the most important drivers of economic development in modern economies. It depends on the degree of investment in technologies, research and innovation. Two years ago, in Hungary, we were successful with the signing of 7 trade partnership agreements with the People’s Republic of China, and last year in Bulgaria we established a bilateral platform for strengthening the cooperation between the companies from both countries, to increase trade and joint ventures on our market. This year, we are signing an agreement to further strengthen well-established business relations and conclude new partnerships through the transfer of knowledge and technologies, Arsovska said, adding that before us is the opportunity first hand to obtain information for inclusion in the projects which will be the focus since each Summit results in precise guidelines set specific targets for next year.

The Economic Forum and individual meetings with the representatives of NR China and 16 countries from Central and Eastern Europe are organizing the Croatian Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts this year. The President of the MCC is a signatory of the only agreement in the Balkans for economic cooperation with China, which is open for Macedonian companies for direct access to the largest Asian market.

Our total trade with NR China in 2018 totaled nearly 500m euros, exports amounted to about 56m euros, and imports of nearly 440m euros. In 2017, the trade exchange amounted to 448 million euros, with an export of around 55 million euros and an import of 392 million euros. In the next year it is necessary to actively work towards reducing the trade deficit through the implementation of the concluded current trade agreements.

According to analyzes by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Chinese investments in the region are rising, and their further increase is expected in the coming years. It is said that the growth began after the first regional summit in 2015, when China’s leaders with the leaders of the countries of the region agreed to strengthen economic ties. According to the IMF data, most Chinese investments were realized in Serbia, totaling 2.6 billion euros, and then in BiH – 2.1 billion.

 The cooperation of the People’s Republic of China with the countries of Eastern and Central Europe began in Budapest and continued at the meetings in Warsaw in April 2012, Bucharest Romania (2013); Belgrade, Serbia (2014); Suzhou, China (2015), Riga, Latvia (2016), Budapest, Hungary (2017), Sofia, Bulgaria (2018).