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BELGRADE (Serbia), November 7 (SeeNews) - Serbia has signed several commercial and financing deals with China worth a combined 734 million euro ($812.5 million) for infrastructure works, the transport ministry in Belgrade has said.
The deals were signed on the sidelines of the Riga summit of the heads of government of China and 16 central and eastern European (CEE) countries, or the 16+1 format.
"This is the largest number of signed contracts and the maximum amount that we have secured for projects in infrastructure", Serbia's transport minister, Zorana Mihajlovic, said in a press release on Saturday.
Out of the total agreed financing, 208 million euro will be used for the construction of a section of pan-European Transport Corridor XI, between the towns of Surcin and Obrenovac, which is due to begin in March next year. The Chinese Export-Import Bank (EximBank) is providing the funds.
Corridor XI runs through Serbia from the northeastern border with Romania to the southwestern border with Montenegro.
Mihajlovic also signed a 207 million euro deal with Power Construction Corporation of China for the construction of the Belgrade bypass. The funds will cover works on the 19.5 kilometre-long section from Ostruznica Bridge to Bubanj Potok, which include the construction of 22 bidges and four tunnels.
A portion of the agreed funding will be used to finance the first stage of the modernisation of the Belgrade-Budapest high-speed railway, the ministry saidd. Mihajlovic signed a commercial deal for the project and a memorandum of understanding with Exim Bank for a loan to finance the works.
Hungary, China and Serbia signed an intergovernmental agreement on the refurbishment of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line last year. The project with an estimated cost of 1.5 billion euro would be 85% financed with the proceeds of a Chinese loan, the Hungarian government said at the time.
($= 0.903465 euro)