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Slovakia: Netizens Discuss Chinese Highway Construction Offer

Ján Figeľ, the Slovak minister of transport, said recently that extremely low prices charged by Chinese road-builders would not be accepted automatically in Slovakia – because of dumping.

A Chinese company whose price was 40 percent lower than the local prices, has already won an expressway construction contract in Poland, however. In the Czech Republic, a government official said that “construction of 5 km of express highway would have strong cultivation effect on the behaviour of other players on the market.”

Opinions of the Czech and Slovak companies are similar. “The problem is to avoid their occupation of the job market for our citizens. When our citizens have no job, what will Slovakia look like?” asked Zsolt Lukáč from the Slovak Union of Construction Entrepreneurs.

The netizens’ opinions are mixed.

branco7:

Am I an idealist? I tried to summarize the potential advantages of the Chinese 1. low price, for Slovak taxpayers, a lower charge together with construction 2. possible employment of our workers, who are leaving former “state” companies [companies that rely heavily on state orders] and searching for a job elsewhere 3. probably better terms of payment in case of loan, because Chinese could finance it using their banks 4. last but not least, their state politics is also about corruption, so there is no threat that Slovak politicians will lose bribes. […]

And disadvantages: 1. lowering of unfair profits of Slovak construction companies 2. higher control of construction quality 3. more asylum seekers

svihrnak:

So when car factories were to be built and we put billions to them because it was foreign investment, then it was a free market and no subsidies. The difference with the present situation is that before the politicians were making free with our property … now, when it is possible to save …, Figel is opposed to that because we must make moral decisions…

morgul:

wouldn't it be nice to have a cheap highway partially paid by the Chinese government? i do not understand why it's different to finance them from the Euro-funds, and maybe Figel could explain if, for example, subsidies for farmers are not deforming the market. with the Chinese highways probably there is no room for [bribes], so Figel does not like it.

muž, ktorý sadil stromy:

Only they will bring here their own workers, their own cement, own asphalt, own machines… This was said on TV [by] minister Figel and other guests

maros_1984 [in reply]:

Directly, that would be fine. At least, Slovaks could be doing other work – something they like better, something more fulfilling.

blingotik:

Our minister behaves strangely, always saying that we'll build highways on the EU funds. Until now he did not understand that the EU funds are from state subsidiaries of the EU members.

Simple Jack:

If I were a minister, I'd take them eagerly and care about the quality and the ratio of employed Slovaks – a source of support other than from our budget couldn't be an obstacle. I do not understand this minister's argument.

Brejk [in reply]:

If the difference between the expensive Slovak and the cheap Chinese highway is the income of [his] party, then the minister's “argument” is understandable.

the new guy:

It's irrational to be afraid of the unknown. Do you think that when China receives the first order, then Siroky [a Slovak company owner] will […] say to himself, OK, I will lower my margin but I will fight with the price… I will earn less than before but I still will earn… This is how the market works…

Hastamanana-copacabana [in reply]:

That will never happen because Siroky and co. will take appropriate steps, let's name it ‘a preventive attack of lobbyists’. A proof that they've already started is the attitude of Figel […].

lmlk:

Positives: 600 million euros. Negatives: 5,000 lost jobs. It is a 120,000 per job position. How many jobs could be created with 600 million euro?

Tip O:

This is just a proof that Figel does not want to build as cheaply as possible but would like to let the right persons make money.

Sionista:

But it's interesting that he did not mind dumping the price of [his] flat.

(Figel got a flat in the capital's old city at the time when his Christian-Democratic Party had a strong position there. After this became known this year, he made a moral decision to give it up “for charity” (until now, there have been no further details what it actually means). Even though this way Figel has survived in his present function of the party's leader, his party did not nominate its own candidate for the recent elections of the city mayor.)

sivamys:

Tax breaks and other stimuli for strong foreign investors coming to Slovakia made no problems for him? Where was he when they were liquidating our companies?

satur:

Highway prices built by our companies are higher compared to the Chinese because of [the bribes] that end up in the pockets of our politicians, regardless of who is in the government.

janomacek:

And why not?
I like the position of the Czech minister better than Figel's. As for the employees, I expect the Chinese will employ our people. If it will be this way, then everything is OK and I will welcome the Chinese. And the dumping prices? Who contributed to them? We are all buying Chinese goods. I would also consider putting some Chinese into our government, maybe we could thus lower the deficit significantly.

mab dell:

if it is paid by the EU funds, then it is necessary to respect the EU rules against dumping prices. Or, let's build it with the Chinese, but not expect the [EU] subsidies. I doubt it will be cheaper in the end…

dede1:

I do not want Communist highways

bertold [in reply]:

Then you can't drive also on the one from Bratislava to Piešťany [built during the socialist era] – it is also Communist.

petuldo:

Be careful. In the Czech Republic, they are also thinking about it, but there is problem with it. The Chinese are building cheaply because [their] state is donating to companies so they could enter the EU market. So one kilometer is cheaper just because it is partially paid by the Chinese taxpayers. I imagine that people there are not so rich, and I do not agree with such a solution very much, as I have no interest in living at the expense of others.

kuzmic:

I understand Figel
It it much easier to negotiate [a bribe] with a local supplier than with the Communist Chinese. Especially since Figel knows he won't be a minister forever.

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