Slovakia visit to reap $110m in deals

Updated: 2009-06-18 09:22

China is expected to sign deals worth $110 million during President Hu Jintao's first official visit to Slovakia this week, the Slovak ambassador to China said last Friday.

Zigmund Bertok said the agreements will range from solar power, LCD screen TVs to rubber tires, which are "important in this time period" when Slovakia is feeling the impact of the global economic crisis.

Hu's June 18-19 visit will be a milestone in the history of the two country's bilateral relationship, he said.

Bertok said Slovakia expects the visit will "spark new moments" in the country's economic and social development and open a new era in bilateral cooperation.

China and Slovakia established diplomatic relations 60 years ago on Oct 6, 1949, days after the founding of the People's Republic of China. Slovakia was then part of Czechoslovakia. After the Czech and Slovakia republics separated in 1993, China and Slovakia have honored each other's principal interests and strengthened political trust, Bertok said.

"There are no historically inherited questions between Slovakia and China. We do not have any conflicts in our main interests," he said. "Advancement in comprehensive bilateral relations has very solid political prerequisites."

Trade volume between Slovakia and China was more than $40 million in 1993 and nearly $56 million in 2000. It exceeded $3 billion in 2008 - an impressive 50-fold increase over 2000, according to the ambassador.

However, bilateral trade fell nearly 40 percent in the first four months of this year due to the ongoing global economic crisis.

"Today, we are looking forward to new possibilities of bilateral economic and trade development, especially in the field of investment, high technology and environment," Bertok pointed out.

Slovakia offers Chinese investors opportunities to develop projects in areas where Slovakia has comparative advantages such as in the energy, automobile and machine industries, as well as in forestation and environment protection, he continued.

Cultural exchanges are also on tap. Slovakia Film Week is expected to be held in Beijing in the second half of the year to celebrate 60 years of bilateral relations, along with an exhibition of Slovak graphics and other cultural activities, the ambassador said.

(News story by Wang Linyan; video by Li Qiao)