"Slovakia enjoys stable economic growth with a comparative advantage in labor costs in Europe and high production efficiency. More importantly, within a radius of 1,000 kilometers, 300 million people are involved, presenting immense business opportunities", said Secretary of Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency on the morning of June 9th, who was sending out invitation for Ningbo enterprises seeking business opportunities.
Central and Eastern European countries are those no stranger to many of Ningbo enterprises. Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania have become the best choice for their market expansion, they not only export products to Central and Eastern European markets, but also import local specialty products from those countries.
On June 9th, China Ningbo - Central and Eastern European Countries Illustration Meeting on the Investment Environment was held to set up a platform for in-depth understanding on the Central and Eastern European countries. Government agencies and investment promotion agencies from Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria and other countries attract the attention of participants with their vivid presentations.
Central and Eastern Europe has close proximity to Western European markets, which goes directly to the Balkans market, extending to countries in Europe within CIS and North Africa markets directly. Due to the special geographical position, Central and Eastern European countries are becoming an important gateway to Chinese products into Europe.
"With a total population of less than 4.5 million, Croatia is very small, but at the center of Eastern Europe. It takes 2-3 hours to fly to any city in Europe", said Svetlana, Deputy Director of Investment Department of Croatian Economic Federation, "Last year, Croatia has imported more than 700 million U.S. dollars of goods from China, but exports only accounted for 70 million Euros, fully presenting the market potential of this small country."
According to data from Municipal Bureau of Foreign Trade, in 2013, Ningbo registered import and export volume of $ 2.27 billion with 16 Central and Eastern European countries, an increase of 5.4%. By the end of April 2014, the city has approved the establishment of 35 factories and investment and trade institutions in Central and Eastern Europe with an approved investment of $ 20,120,000, including lamps, bearings, auto parts and other so on.
"We believe that the current economic and trade relations with Central and Eastern European countries are a good start. In the future, the two sides can conduct more in-depth cooperation in import and export trade, exhibition, engineering infrastructure, tourism, education, etc. In particular, Ningbo can make a difference in investment in Eastern Europe", said Yu Danhua, Secretary of Municipal Bureau of Foreign Trade.
Experts suggest that while going out, Ningbo enterprises as well enhance advantages and avoid disadvantages. Fang Jianxin, deputy director of the Development Research Center of the Municipal Government, said that the current Ningbo already has a high level of technology and export advantages in terms of home appliances, textiles and clothing and other traditional industries and shipbuilding, equipment manufacturing and other emerging industries, ready to go out. The Central and Eastern European countries enjoy relatively fast development in the field of agriculture, animal husbandry and farming. So, enterprises from Ningbo and Eastern European countries are positioned to achieve mutual benefits and win-win results in the food processing industry, agriculture and other areas of investment.
"Small countries contain big business opportunities", said Michal, Commercial Consul of Consulate General of Slovak Republic. Slovak is an emerging country in Eastern Europe with special geographical location and sound policy that opens the window of booming business opportunities in the future, making it worthwhile for Ningbo enterprises to develop and expand.