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BELGRADE (Serbia), January 22 (SeeNews) - China's greenfield investments in Serbia contribute to improving the Balkan country's business environment and credit rating, the president of state-run lender Komercijalna banka [BEL:KMBN], Vladimir Krulj, has said.
"What Serbia is doing at the moment, is basically enabling a more clear path of Chinese investments to Western Europe," Krulj said in a video file posted on the website of US-headquartered CNBC on Friday.
Direct investment from China accounts for one-third of the total FDI in Serbia, while the remainder comes from Western Europe, Krulj said in an interview broadcast live by CNBC.
China's interest in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is in line with the free market rules, as Beijing expects a big return on investments in the region, said Krulj, who was an aide to Aleksandar Vucic during Vucic's term as prime minister between 2014 and 2017.
In June, Serbian infrastructure minister Zorana Mihajlovic said China's investments in the country under the "One Belt, One Road" initiative stand at 5.5 billion euro ($6.7 billion). Serbia plays an important role in the "One Belt, One Road" project and wishes to take advantage of its full potential, Mihajlovic said in an interview with China Central Television (CCTV).
The direct investments into Serbia from China grew to 36.9 million euro in the first half of 2017 from 19.5 million euro in the like period of last year, data by Serbia's statistical office shows.
A total of 16 CEE countries participate in the "One Belt, One Road" initiative designed to set up a China-centered trading network and increase the role of Beijing in global affairs.
($ = 0.816107 euro)