An agreement for export of Bulgarian tobacco to China was completed during the seventh China-CEEC Summit in Sofia. A number of bilateral agreements were signed between the 16 countries and China and a particular transaction was announced with Bulgaria – it was about buying dried tobacco leaves.

China will also establish a centre for agriculture and tourism in the unbuilt “smart city” end of Elin Pelin. Construction activities are assigned to China Construction. Energy, infrastructure, agriculture and agri-food industries are other areas where representatives of Chinese businesses are interested.

Sofia is the first stop of the European tour of Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, and his speeches that Beijing does not aim in any way to shake the EU’s positions, they aim to prepare the ground for the EU-China Summit and for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. This will come against the newly imposed duties of the United States against Chinese and European goods.

“There is no conflict between China’s strategic interests and Europe. We are looking at the European Union as a partner in a multilateral world,” Li Keqiang said. Beijing is firm that it intends to comply with EU rules on trade and investment and will open its market for European goods and investment, especially for agricultural production. We must not forget the broad context in which the forum took place. Concerned about the possible catastrophic contraction of its main export market and likely long-term commercial war, China is looking for an alternative and ally. The last two EU summits did not produce joint statements precisely because of disagreements between international trade partners. Today, however, Beijing can no longer afford the same and search for a road to Brussels.

At present, the biggest Chinese investments in the EU have entered in the UK. Followed by Germany, Italy and France. From the Eastern European countries, the biggest investment has been received by Hungary. The Balkans, however, quickly become a new focus for Beijing, and in particular we have entered between 130 and 200 million dollars over the last 20 years.

So far, a Chinese prime minister has not visited for more than a few hours Bulgaria. А four-days programme in diplomatic language means very significant attention to our country. The next 16 +1 Summit is planned for 2019 and the host will be Croatia.