China and Serbia Sign Free Trade Agreement, Expanding Economic Cooperation

October 18, 2023

China and Serbia Sign Free Trade Agreement, Expanding Economic Cooperation

On 17 October, China and Serbia officially signed a free trade agreement (FTA) in a ceremony witnessed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Serbian President Vučić, with Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao and Serbian Minister of Internal and Foreign Trade Miloš Momirović representing their respective governments.

This agreement is the first FTA signed between China and a Central and Eastern European country, making Serbia China’s 29th FTA partner. The signing of the China-Serbia FTA is an important step in implementing the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, and serves as a key achievement of the third Belt and Road Initiative International Cooperation Summit.

Negotiations for the China-Serbia FTA were launched in April 2023 and were substantially concluded by the end of September. The agreement aims to establish a high degree of mutual openness between China and Serbia, and create new institutional arrangements for bilateral economic and trade cooperation. It also aims to create a more favourable, convenient, transparent and stable business environment for enterprises from both countries, while injecting new momentum into the high-quality construction of the Belt and Road Initiative. After signing the agreement, both sides will follow their respective domestic procedures to facilitate its early implementation and enforcement.


Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation Commences

The third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation opened on 18 October. Representatives from 140 nations and 30 international organisations have gathered at the forum, which marks the tenth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative. Notably, Russian President Vladimir Putin is among the attendees and is scheduled to address the audience following President Xi Jinping’s speech.

President Xi outlined eight key points aimed at achieving long-term “high-quality” growth. These points include the establishment of a logistics corridor  across Europe and Asia, the creation of a “Silk Road e-commerce zone” backed by free trade agreements and investment treaties, a US$47.8 billion financing pledge from China’s development banks, a focus on green development practices, commitments to scientific development and artificial intelligence, efforts to enhance cultural and people-to-people exchanges, a push for “clean cooperation” to improve transparency, and the establishment of Belt and Road institutions.

The opening of the Forum marks a decade of remarkable growth and fruitful outcomes. As the initiative enters a new phase, it is expected to further deepen regional and international cooperation, promote sustainable development and contribute to the common prosperity of the Belt and Road Initiative countries.


China Cellphone Maker Xiaomi Releases New Operating System

On October 17th, Lei Jun, Chairman and CEO of Xiaomi, announced that Xiaomi’s new operating system, Xiaomi HyperOS, has been completed. The first smartphone of the Xiaomi 14 series, equipped with the new system, has been delivered to the factory and officially entered production. In the future, Xiaomi HyperOS will gradually replace MIUI, the previous operating system. Upon hearing this news, a large number of Chinese netizens exclaimed, “I am hyped.”

In recent years, foreign pressure and sanction on China’s high-tech field has sparked patriotic enthusiasm among the Chinese people and increased their attention to the high-tech sector. Any technological breakthrough or upgrade will receive support from the public. A few weeks ago, the release of Huawei’s new smartphones and new chips also led to celebration on the Chinese internet.

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