Belt and Road Initiative offers boundless Opportunities for BiH, experts say

Belt and Road Initiative offers unlimited benefits and opportunities to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), especially after the visa liberalization regime that will bring numerous Chinese investments here, BiH experts agreed here on symposium on Monday.

In BiH’s capital Sarajevo, representatives of academic sector and experts from certain areas, spoke at the symposium entitled “Belt and Road Initiative and connection of nations”, pointing out on the benefits that the Initiative will bring to BiH.

The opening speech by Chinese Ambassador to BiH Chen Bo reminded that the initiative was initiated in 2013 by China’s President Xi Jinping aiming to connect the countries and peoples of the world on an economic, cultural and civilization plan.

She enumerated numerous successful projects in BiH that are made under the Belt and Road Initiative, highlighting the fact that authorities in BiH in the last years are more than ever included in the projects under the Initiative.

The special emphasis was put on the importance of the Initiative as a global project that has no alternative, and from which BiH can have a tremendous opportunity and use the benefits it offers. The director of the BiH Foreign Chamber Ahmet Egrlic reminded in his speech on the importance of Chinese investments in BiH, and added that the investments will be greater after the agreement on visa liberalisation between the two countries has been concluded.

Egrlic concluded by saying that he believes that BiH needs to do much more to build tourism infrastructure in order to accommodate all the tourists expected in the upcoming period.

In his remarks, the Vice President of Chinese Association for International Understanding (CAFIU) Ai Ping, reminded that the Belt and Road Initiative project, among other things, promotes economic development and enhances connectivity in infrastructure, which is of the biggest importance to BiH. He agreed with Egrlic in importance of the visa liberalization that will result in a great number of tourist visiting BiH starting from the early next month.

“Together we can promote a mutual understanding,” Ping concluded his remarks.

Slobodan Soja, BiH historian, briefly presented history on the Silk Road, how the trade expanded, and pointed out on China success recipe of economic development, firstly after 1949 and later after the Initiative in 2013.

“China will, in the next decades, develop to the unseen scale,” Soja concluded.

BiH political analyst Adnan Huskic spoke about the global economy and praised China’s President Xi Jinping’s advocacy of the free trade, enumerating the benefits. He spoke about what does the global free trade and technological development means for BiH and workplaces here, emphasizing that it is a chance for economy and for workers to get the chance for retraining.

Ivan Barbalic, a member of the Management Board of the BiH Center for Promotion and Development of the “Belt and Road Initiative”, highlighted that Initiative offers great potential for the area of the Western Balkans (WB) that has not been discovered yet fully, and that it is an important element for the development of WB area.

“We have recognized significant shift in BiH, we expect the great increase in number of Chinese tourists and that is a great opportunity for our economy,” Barbalic said, adding that  the Initiative offers a high level of cooperation, and that there is an evident significant increase in BiH as it became the part of this big project.

“BiH saw positive results of targeted efforts and, definitely, important changes can happen in the future,” Brbalic emphasized.

Visa-free regime between BiH and China will bring positive results such as an increase in communication and rise in investments, of which BiH already sees the results, such as the increase of number of tourists. Experts reminded that in 2016, some 16,000 Chinese tourists visited BiH and in 2017, some 32,000 Chinese tourists and in 2018, it is expected that 50,000 of Chinese residents will visit BiH.

Interlocutors agreed on the importance of cooperation with China which brings mutual benefits and is a necessity in the globalized world, and a mutual future of a mankind.

Sarajevo Times

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