Doubtful and secret contracts, non-transparent public procurements, irregular state aid are, as a rule, characteristics of Chinese investments in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).
When it comes to economic cooperation between BiH and China, our country has more harm than good. Data show that BiH has a deficit of 1.6 billion BAM in trade with China. Namely, in the last year only 37 million BAM worth of goods were exported to China from BiH, so the coverage of imports by exports of BiH was 6.3 percent. To compare, more than 70 percent of total exports from BiH refer to the European Union(EU), and goods worth 10.5 billion marks were exported to the EU market last year.
When it comes to Chinese investments, given that the Chinese entered the Balkans through Serbia, they are somewhat larger in the smaller BiH entity, Republika Srpska (RS). Which does not mean that they are necessarily good. Namely, they are followed by hidden contracts such as the one for the construction of the Banjaluka-Prijedor highway where the Chinese company does not allow public inspection. In addition, the Chinese prefer other forms of non-transparency, such as direct negotiations and without public bidding, and by bypassing regulations and procedures, they are in a position to hire a subcontractor without public scrutiny.
We are witnessing a similar case in Canton Sarajevo (CS). It is about a contract for the reconstruction of tram tracks in Sarajevo with a Chinese company, in which the Ministry of Transport of CS treats as secret information related to the content of the Chinese consortium’s offer, agreed deadlines and prices, and other important information about one of the largest infrastructure projects currently being carried out in the capital of BiH. There are no Chinese workers on the railway reconstruction at all.
The head of the Ministry is Adnan Steta, the president of the Sarajevo SDP, the party that openly introduced the Chinese into the Federation of BiH during the term in which it was in power, expelling Western partners from the construction project of Unit 7 of the Tuzla TPP and introducing partners from China into the project. By secret agreement, of course. The whole process was accompanied by the issuance of illegal state aid, and BiH even had to borrow from a Chinese bank for an amount greater than 600 million euros. After the withdrawal of the American General Electric, which ‘stopped’ the production of equipment for thermoblocks, the Chinese offered their equipment, which would keep Block 7 in their hands forever. Everything was preceded by the fact that all other European and American manufacturers, such as Siemens, MHPS Europe, RAFAKO, Doosan Skoda, sent rejection notices to the consortitum from China for the purchase of equipment. The whole project is now questionable and there is every chance that nothing will come of it, which is not bad news for BiH.
And where there is economics, there is always politics. In that segment, BiH is in a kind of political deficit. Namely, the Chinese policy is openly on the side of Greater Serbia’s pretensions and actively supports the secessionist policy, which they openly show with their actions.
The authorities of this country, the only one along with Russia, do not accept the legitimacy of Christian Schmidt as a high representative in BiH. China and Russia jointly proposed a Resolution in the UN in which they demanded the shutdown of the Office of the High Representative (OHR).
That was not the only situation in which China and Russia acted unitedly to the detriment of BiH. In 2015, China was the only permanent member of the United Nations (UN) Security Council, along with Russia, that did not support the Resolution condemning the genocide in Srebrenica proposed by Great Britain. At that time, China expressed the view that the Resolution condemning the genocide in Srebrenica does not contribute to reconciliation in the region, which was a great service to Aleksandar Vucic and Serbia, through which China is expanding its economic and political influence in the region.
China sided with the genocide deniers three years ago. At that time, they were the only country that did not distance itself from its member who participated in the work of the so-called The Commission for the Investigation of Suffering in the Srebrenica Region, which was formed by the Government of the RS.
The obvious support for Greater Serbia policy is reason enough for Aleksandar Vucic and Milorad Dodik to have China as a partner. Probosnian politicians have none. In fact, the Western partners have been warning for a long time about the fact that China is establishing an economic dependence in the Balkans, which it is consequently turning into a political one, Vijesti.ba writes.