Serbia will repay loans to China for the next 20 years

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Although political leaders in Serbia often present capital coming from China as investments, which are the product of good cooperation between the two countries, most of the money comes through loans, which Serbia will have to repay in the next decade or two. According to the research of the European Center for Asian Studies, it is about a debt of about eight billion dollars, while the investments are about three billion.
Based on publicly available data and statements of officials from 2009 to 2020, Serbia signed agreements with China on infrastructure projects, which reach the amount of about 7.5 billion euros, explains Stefan Vladisavljev, one of the researchers.
“Which, in fact, means that we will pay what we already pay, which in the future in the next period, you mentioned that period of 20-25 years, depends on contract to contract, to the Chinese, in fact to Chinese companies a little more than eight billion dollars,” he explains.
Dragana Mitrović, a professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences, thinks that it is good for Chinese investments to come, but not those that merge into dirty industries.
Important quality of the economic environment
“It would be good because China is a global leader in the application of renewable energy, renewable energy installations, but also a leader in renewable energy technologies. It would be good to see greater investments here, not only buying from China, but joint research and technology transfer. Opening of such plants of green industrial zones that are springing up all over China,” said Mitrović.
She explains that the quality of the economic environment should be taken into account, but points out that the negative thing is that Chinese loans are mostly related to projects in energy and transport infrastructure, which are conducted in Serbia by Chinese companies with Chinese labor, technology and repro material.
“Which, in turn, are conducted on the basis of political agreements at the highest level without competition, when it comes to another offer that would be more favorable, without sufficient or in the absence of transparency and public insight, local communities of experts. Such processes provide space for spreading corrupt practices,” believes Dragana Mitrović.
“What is often pointed out is that, for example, for one kilometer of highway, the price for certain contracts in Serbia is much higher than for certain projects that are, for example, being implemented in Norway. And these are similar terrains, this is not about the plain here, this is the mountain, so very similar projects, which were pointed out by various experts,” adds Stefan Vladislavljev.
The question, he says, is whether Chinese capital will be a pledge for the future when it comes to political decisions that can be made under the influence of Beijing, BiF reports.