by Han Jianjun
SARAJEVO, April 19 (Xinhua) — Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and China should expand economic ties and the two sides will benefit from “16+1” cooperation, said BiH Presidency Chairman Bakir Izetbegovic here on Tuesday.
During an interview with Xinhua, Izetbegovic noted the two countries have a solid base for stable and friendly partnership.
“We can and we should expand our economic cooperation in the future for the mutual benefit,”said Izetbegovic.
He also highlighted the cooperation between China and countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE),or “16+1″cooperation.
“The idea of 16 + 1 cooperation, linking China as an economic powerhouse of the world with emerging economies of Central and Eastern Europe, is a great vision,” he said, adding “it can benefit both China and the region.”
He also talked about the coming Sarajevo Business Forum in May, which will be combined with the “16+1″economic and trade forum. Sarajevo Business Forum is one of the largest of its kind in the region.
On the Belt and Road Initiative, Izetbegovic said BiH is willing to play a role in it.
“We have a potential for growth, especially in the field of energy, and we need to connect more strongly with our region and with the rest of the world. We are working to develop our infrastructure, and China is welcome to play a role in that development.”
The BiH Presidency Chairman also noted the two countries should enhance bilateral understanding.
“There are two key areas I find crucial for deepening the understanding between China and BiH: culture and tourism,”he said, “Chinese guests are more than welcome in our country, and I hope there will be more of them in the future. I also hope many more BiH people will visit China.”
Izetbegovic said his country applied for the European Union (EU) membership, which made it more interesting to foreign investors, including Chinese investors.
He admitted there were a lot of work to be done before the application is accepted, but BiH was ready to overcome difficulties with negotiation, compromise and patience.
Izetbegovic, a member of the BiH Presidency since 2010, is the son of the first President of BiH Alija Izetbegovic. Enditem
Spotlight: China’s economic policy adjustment messages get accepted by int’l investors
BEIJING, April 16 (Xinhua) — International confidence in China’s economic future obviously improved following the release of key statistics for its economic performance in the first quarter on Friday, as people outside China have come to accept China’s “new normal” of slower growth between 6.5 percent and 7 percent.
David Dollar, senior fellow at the John L. Thornton China Center, Brookings Institution, said that macroeconomic measures put in place by the Chinese government have helped stabilize the economy, an improvement from several months ago when many were worried about “a hard landing.”
“All this obsession with a Chinese hard-landing I think is a bit too much,” Suan Teck Kin, an economist with the United Overseas Bank in Singapore, was quoted by Reuters as saying.
“Chinese economic data is showing signs of stabilization, including recent PMI numbers, as well as the latest figures on industrial production and retail sales,” Suan said.
China’s gross domestic product grew by an annualized 6.7 percent in the first quarter, with March industrial output surprising at 6.8 percent.
Its exports grew by 11.5 percent in March, the first expansion since June, though a lower base last year and seasonal factors associated with the Chinese New Year may be some distorting factors.
Retail sales in the first quarter rose by 10.3 percent from a year before, up from 10.2 percent in the previous quarter.
“The latest data are strong enough to show that despite its prolonged slowdown, China remains a main engine of global growth,” the Associated Press reported.
The AFP also said that “green shoots (are) appearing” even though the quarterly growth has slowed.
Challenges remain as China tries to push through a transition from growth driven by investment and exports to growth led by consumption and the services sector.
Some of the observers voiced concerns over the rise in corporate debt while acknowledging the signs of recovery.
However, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a report on Wednesday that China’s corporate debt risks are rising but still manageable.
The IMF report said risks are concentrated in five sectors such as real estate, manufacturing, retail and wholesale, mining and steel, where earnings relative to interest expense have fallen despite declining nominal interest rates.
It estimates that bank loans potentially at risk in China amount to almost 1.3 trillion U.S. dollars, which could translate into potential bank losses of 756 billion dollars.
“This number may seem large but it is manageable, given China’s bank and policy buffers and continued strong growth in the economy,” said Jose Vinals, director of the IMF’s monetary and capital markets department.
In its latest quarterly forecast released earlier this week, the IMF raised its China growth projections for both 2016 and 2017 by 0.2 percentage point, a bright spot amid sluggish global growth.
Economists and analysts agree that the Q1 growth, though slowest in seven years, is in line with market expectations.
Chen Fengying, world economy research fellow with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said people outside China have gradually come to accept the “new normal” of China as the authorities increased their communication efforts on the economic policies.
“The economists and investors outside China no longer expect 9 percent or faster growth,” she said. “It is a process of China’s messages of policy adjustments getting through to international investors.” Enditem