The authorities in Kiev have had high hopes associated with China's economic presence in Ukraine for many years. However, the official declarations are rarely followed by real actions. For China, Ukraine is still primarily a large market for Chinese goods.
The West has long eyed Russia as its chief rival in the Western Balkans, but it should look closer at China. The EU is responsible for more than 60 per cent of the total FDI, Chinese FDI remains low, accounting for only 3 per cent.
Croatian tourist pearl, Dubrovnik, hosted the 9th 16+1 summit of the Central and Southeast European (CSE) countries and China. The idea was born after the first Economic-Trade Forum in 2011 in Budapest.
In the first three quarters of 2018, CSE’s combined exports to China totaled USD17.6bn, a record high and up by over 20 per cent y/y. But the region has been racking up a large trade deficit with the Asian nation.
Estonia became the next country to sign up to the Chinese One Belt One Road Initiative. Meanwhile, Rail Baltica’s troubles continue amid criticism and possible future competition from the Amber Train project.
The strategic partnership with Poland signed almost two years ago was supposed to revive mutual economic relations, and open up the Chinese market for Polish exports. The effect has been the opposite so far.