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China’s Exim Clears $334 Million for Balkan Highway, Serbia Says

Export-Import Bank of China approved a $334 million loan for parts of a Balkan highway that China’s Shandong Hi-Speed Group Co. Ltd will build, Serbia said.

Work on two sections totalling 50 kilometers (31 miles) of the 270-kilometer route between the Serbian capital Belgrade and the Montenegrin border will start by September, and Shandong agreed to complete them in 37 months, according to a statement by Construction Minister Velimir Ilic on the government website.

Serbia is developing the highway that’s part of its so-called Corridor 11 between Romania and the Adriatic. The 20-year loan with a 2.5 percent interest rate and five-year grace period, comes from a $10 billion fund that China set for infrastructure work in central and eastern Europe, carried out by Chinese contractors.

The Serbian government will also offer concessions worth about $600 million for another two stretches, as it plans to have at least half of the highway completed before 2017, according to Ilic. Serbia plans no further loans for the project, after borrowing 308 million euros ($401 million) last year from Azerbaijan for 40 kilometers of the highway.

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