Hu Zhaoming: Appeals by competition in Peljesac Bridge tender unfounded
Author: CSEBA / SEEbiz
29th January 2018
ZAGREB - Chinese Ambassador to Croatia Hu Zhaoming said Monday he was not surprised by appeals submitted by companies which competed in a tender for the construction of the Peljesac Bridge in which a Chinese consortium led by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) was selected as the most favourable bid, adding however that he was surprised by their arguments which in his opinion are "unfounded."

Hrvatske Ceste said on January 12 that of the three bids submitted for the first stage of construction work on the Peljesac Bridge, it had selected the one by the Chinese consortium China Road and Bridge Corporation, worth HRK 2.08 billion, not including VAT.

The State Commission for the Supervision of Public Procurement Procedures on January 22 received a complaint by the Austrian company Strabag against Hrvatske Ceste's decision to choose the Chinese company for the Peljesac Bridge project. According to media reports, the third bidder - a consortium comprising Italy's Astaldi and Turkey's IC Ictas - has appealed against the decision as well.

They complained about the Chinese consortium dumping pricing policy and the fact that some of the companies in the Chinese consortium were state owned or received state subsidies to facilitate their entry to the EU market.

I am not surprised by the fact that the competition filed appeals. They are entitled to that. I am surprised by their arguments, Ambassador Hu said at a news conference, adding that both arguments by the competition were unfounded.

He recalled that China had very good relations with Austria, Italy and Turkey and that their companies cooperated with Chinese companies, including state-owned companies.

Since the very beginning they were aware that their competition is a state-owned companies and until now they did not raise this issue, the ambassador said, adding that the Chinese companies did not hide their identity.

I don't think that they are bringing into question the Chinese company, I believe they are bringing into question the jurisdiction of the Croatian government and European institutions, the Chinese ambassador said.

The companies that appealed are playing "the political card" and maybe the start of the construction of the Peljesac Bridge will be postponed, the ambassador said.

He said that Croatia's decision to select the Chinese company for the job was an excellent choice, expressing confidence that the Chinese will build the best bridge in the shortest period of time.

The Peljesac Bridge, which is to connect the southern Dalmatian peninsula of Peljesac with the mainland and thus connect Dubrovnik-Neretva County with the rest of the country, will facilitate the transport of people and goods throughout the year, notably during the peak tourist season.

The news conference also focused on a recent scandal in which Croatian police uncovered two "call centres" for computer fraud in the wider Zagreb area.

The Ambassador said that of the 63 people arrested, 61 are Taiwanese.

The Croatian police have shown sensibility for that issue and their investigation is led by the One-China Policy. We appreciate that, the ambassador said.

We are confident the suspects will be extradited to China so that they can face trial, Hu said.

Commenting on overall China-Croatia relations, Hu said 2017 was a great year, adding that he expected 2018 to be even better.

He announced the opening of a Chinese Cultural Centre in Croatia, adding it was time for the two countries to open direct flights between their cities.

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