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Bank of China Opens Balkan Regional Headquarters in Serbia

Jan. 23, 2017 (EIRNS)—In an important development, on Jan. 21 the Bank of China officially opened its Balkan regional branch in the Serbian capital of Belgrade, to provide banking services for cooperation in investments, trade, tourism, and other fields, for countries in the region—Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and others. The event dominated headlines in all major media in Serbia and beyond.

The ceremony was held in the Government Palace and attended by President Tomislav Nikolic and members of the government. This important development follows last June’s state visit of China’s President Xi Jinping to Serbia, and also his talks last week with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

As Zivadin Jovanovic, president of the Belgrade Silk Road Connectivity Center and of the Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals, noted in a TV commentary on Sunday, cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, as a global initiative, is not only important for development of Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, but for the whole of Europe. Through the Belt and Road win-win cooperation, Europe and China are getting closer, which is equally positive from an economic, cultural, and political point of view, particularly now when the EU is undergoing serious difficulties.

Furthermore, he underlined that Serbia’s role in the implementation of the China-CEE cooperation under Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is growing. The two countries are strategic partners cooperating in various fields. Just in the last five years, partners from the two countries have been constructing or modernizing roads, highways, railways, ports, bridges, tunnels, a thermo-electric plant, a steel factory, and strengthening people-to-people exchanges.

As of Jan. 1 this year, a no-visa system for citizens of the two countries came into force. A number of infrastructure projects, already implemented, or under implementation, in Serbia, are highly important for modernization of connectivity in the CEE region, and in Europe. Lastly, Jovanovic said that cooperation under CEE-BRI has proven to be very important for Serbia’s overall economic development, modernization of industry and infrastructure and improvement of international standing.