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Chinese firms to build Polish expressways

Nearly 40 private Chinese companies, led by China International Industry and Commerce Co Ltd (CIIC), are likely to build expressways worth €20 billion ($27.7 billion) in Poland as the Eastern European country modernizes its infrastructure. 

China International Industry and Commerce Co Ltd, a leading real estate company in Beijing, yesterday signed a letter of intent for cooperation with the Polish Ministry of Transport to participate in Poland’s road transport modernization.

Poland is carrying out a massive campaign to improve its poor road transport system. It will build 1,700 km of road and 2,500 km of expressway in seven years. “On behalf of our government, I sincerely send out my invitation to Chinese enterprises and hope China would participate in this modernization campaign,” Jerzy Polaczek, Poland’s minister of transport, said at the signing ceremony. “We hope our business partnership agreement will take effect very soon.” CIIC plans to set up a joint venture company with other Chinese private firms to participate in the expressway projects in Poland, said Wang Tianyi, CIIC’s president. “About 38 companies have expressed interest in joining us,” Wang said.

Poland’s road transport system modernization is mainly funded by the European Union and the Polish government. The EU will increase its aid to Poland from 2% of the country’s GDP to 4% between 2007 and 2013, according to Euromonitor International. The funds are part of the EU Structural and Cohesion Funds aimed at improving transport infrastructure, regional development, education and environment.

Founded in 1988, CIIC has total assets of 9.8 billion yuan ($1.3 billion). Its business covers real estate development, property management, hotels, industrial park development and information security management. It wholly owns the five-star Presidential Plaza Hotel in western Beijing. CIIC is also making forays into other Eastern European countries. It signed a letter of intent on Monday to build a 40-story commercial building in Romania, one of the tallest structures in Eastern Europe.

Bilateral trade between China and Poland reached $4.67 billion in 2006, rising 48.2% over the previous year, according to figures from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce. (