The President of the Chamber of Commerce of Montenegro, Nina Drakić, said in Podgorica that trade cooperation between that country and China could be much higher, after last year’s record of 343 million euros.
“Certainly, this imbalance is very large in favor of the import of goods from China compared to the potential of exporting Montenegrin products to the Chinese market. Considering the size of the economies of the two countries, it is difficult to achieve a balance there, but we can do more when regarding the export of Montenegrin products to the Chinese market,” said Drakić.
At the “Belt and Road, Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries” conference, Drakić stated that statistical data show that Montenegro mostly exports aluminum, lead and wine to China, reports the Chinese Media Group (CMG).
“The demand for agricultural and food products on the Chinese market is high, so there is a possibility that we in our food processing industry, especially in the meat industry, can do something so that part of those products can be placed on the Chinese market,” said Drakić.
She pointed out that infrastructure is “definitely a prerequisite for the development of any economy” and that “significant improvement” of infrastructure is necessary to strengthen the competitiveness of the Montenegrin economy.
Drakić said that every year there are more and more Chinese tourists visiting Montenegro and pointed to predictions that by 2030, two out of five world tourists will be from China.
“We have to find a way to use that potential. Decision-makers need to create an environment so that we can attract Chinese tourists,” said Drakić, and reminded that in 2019, about 74,000 tourists from China visited Montenegro and that they made about 90,000 overnight stays.
She also stated that China’s experiences in the field of green economy and digital transformation are significant for Montenegro.
“The possibility of cooperation in the energy sector is great. We are facing an energy transition, that is, in the coming years we must definitely go towards diversifying our production in the field of energy towards renewable energy sources. There is definitely a huge space for cooperation,” said Drakić.
Former Montenegrin Ambassador to China Darko Pajović stated at the same conference that the “Belt and Road” initiative actually originates from 1978, when the then Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping brought a rather unpopular measure to create a China open to the world.
“It was probably very difficult, in a country with one billion and 400 million inhabitants, to suddenly open a rather closed economy to the whole world. Deng Xiaoping’s visionary went very far, he already then practically founded Shenzhen, which you know today as a city of twenty-five million people found the headquarters of the largest Chinese company,” Pajović said.
He stated that Deng was “a great reformer, who was challenged at the time”, and added that the result of his work was seen much later, reports the China Media Group (CMG).
“The vision is something that actually enabled China to achieve in the previous four decades what we see today and what is today called modern China. It joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, and the annual growth up to that time was around 6-7 percent was doubled once,” Pajović said.
He estimated that there are four reasons why China has achieved “such economic success”.
“First and foremost is the opening of China to the world. It was not only the opening of borders, but also strengthened ties with a large part of the world. Thanks to diplomatic activities, China connected more or less with all the countries of the world. On the other hand, for the first time, At the end of the 1970s, he introduced private ownership, a concept unknown to China until then, with much less state influence than in the previous period,” he said.
According to Pajović, the third factor is the foreign investments that started in the 1980s, and the fourth is the “huge export potential that China accumulated in that previous period of reforms.”
Pajović said that the “Belt and Road” initiative is actually an attempt for China to officially restore its Silk Roads, which have existed for thousands of years, because trade is a way of life in China.
“Today, with a GDP of 18,321 billion, China is the second country in the world. Today, China is the largest exporter of labor force, and practically no country, no alliance, politically or economically, can match it. Today, China achieves cooperation with over 140 countries, and in 2020 it became the first foreign trade partner of the European Union,” Pajović said.
He stated that the “Belt and Road” project was launched in 2013, with the aim of “deepening cooperation with a large number of countries”.
“It includes as much as 63 percent of the world’s population and 150 countries. How significant it was for all those countries that were part of that initiative, is shown by the fact that the trade exchange went from 1.01 to 2.3 trillion US dollars,” Pajović added.