Bratislava/Riga, November 6 (TASR correspondent) – A memorandum signed between Slovakia and China on Saturday (November 5) following the meeting of Heads of Government of Central and Eastern European countries (CEE) and China in the Latvian capital Riga should strengthen relations between the two countries in the field of customs duties and so accelerate bilateral trade, TASR learnt on Sunday.
Slovak Finance Ministry State Secretary Dana Meager, who inked the memorandum on Slovakia’s behalf, stated that the agreement is a result of two years of work.
“Infrastructure isn’t enough, we also need a legislative basis and customs regulations that will allow us to ensure that exchanges between Europe and Asia are rapid and at the same time that goods are transported from one continent to another safely,” said Meager. According to her, the aforementioned agreement guarantees such cooperation on both sides, with China mainly seen as the country of export and Slovakia as an entry point to the Schengen area.
In this context, Meager stressed the importance of freight rail transport from Asia to Europe via the Trans-Siberian Railway. While the sea route takes 45 days, only ten-twelve days are required via rail. “It’s a significantly faster means of transport. For Chinese and European entrepreneurs it’s also a much faster way of obtaining money from business,” said the state secretary.
At the same time Meager pointed out that access through transit countries along the route, such as Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, is also very important. Therefore, Slovakia has already organised a meeting of representatives of railways and financial bodies from all countries concerned.
“We discussed the content of our collaboration, potential problems, resolving cases in which violations of the law may take place,” she said, adding that she hopes that the results of the negotiations will make the Trans-Siberian Railway accessible soon.