Chinese President Xi Jinping, accompanied by Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, visited the Smederevo Steel Mill, purchased by Chinese HeSteel Group in April.
During the ceremony in the Steel Mill, Xi Jinping delivered a speech pointing out a profound traditional friendship that exists between the people of China and Serbia and stressing how the successful experience that China had in development of her economy through reforms can be an example for Serbia: “Today Chinese and Serbian businesses join hands to open a new chapter in the cooperation in order to develop the production capacity. The production capacity will be carried forward not only by the means of our traditional friendship, but also by the means of deep reforms that will lead to achieving win-win results.
The Smederevo Steel Mill, founded in 1913, after many vicissitudes was purchased by Chinese HeSteel Group (HBIS) for 46 million euros in April. HeSteel plans to invest 300 million euros in Serbian mill in order to make out of it one of the most competitive mills in Europe, guaranteeing to retain all of its workforce of 5000 employees.
Xi later on visited the plant where he stopped at the staff dining hall and interacted with the employees encouraging them to work hard in order to bring benefits to the local community at an early date. “We aim to get back to producing at full capacity and to reach the number of 2 million tons of steel by the end of the year”, said Vladan Mihajlović, director of the factory.
Xi went to Poland in the afternoon and finished his three-day visit to Serbia, the first visit of one Chinese President to Belgrade after 32 years.
Some of the workers of the Mill, interviewed by Tanjug, pointed out that they don’t expect a miracle from HeSteel, but that they are only looking forward to an opportunity to continue working “We know how to work, but we don’t have a market. Now we have a great partner”.
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