Chinese Companies and Bosnia's Serb Republic Sign Highway Deal

Chinese Companies and Bosnia's Serb Republic Sign Highway Deal
China Construction Bank Corp (CCB) logo is seen on its headquarters in Beijing, China, March 31, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

A consortium of Chinese companies and the government of Bosnia's autonomous Serb Republic sealed a 350 million marka ($190.5 million) loan deal on Thursday, to finance the construction of a portion of a northern highway that will link the region with Serbia.

A modern highway will connect most of the territory of the Serb Republic with its political ally and largest trade partner – Serbia.

Serb Republic Prime Minister Radovan Viskovic said at the ceremony that China Overseas Engineering Group Co Ltd. and China Tiesiju Civil Engineering Group Co Ltd., will plan, build and finance the 17-kilometer-long Brcko-Bijeljina section.

After the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) declined the project on the basis of not being vital, the China Construction Bank stepped up for help.

Viskovic stated that the loan, which will span for 15 years, with a grace period of three years and a guarantee of five years.

Reuters reported Viskovic declined to provide details of the loan “saying it was up to the Chinese partners”.

The Brcko-Bijeljina section is not the first highway deal between China and Bosnia's Serb Republic. Last August, the regional government signed a 650 million marka deal with China State Construction Engineering Corp. Ltd. for the construction of a 33-kilometer-long section of the same highway in northern Bosnia.