Carnegie Europe Study ’When Chinese Firms Win EU Contracts’

05 December 2022

The much-discussed Pelješac Bridge in Croatia was officially opened on 26 July 2022. The bridge had been projected since 2007 but implementation of the project did not start until 2017, when the European Union (EU) put up €357 million, or about 85% of the cost of the project. In 2018, China Road and Bridge Corporation, a subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned enterprise China Communications Construction Company, Ltd. (CCCC), won the international tender to construct the infrastructure project against two European competitors.

According to publicly available information, an Austrian competitor offered a tender price of 2.6 billion HRK (€351 million) and the tender of an Italian-Turkish Joint Venture amounted to 2.6 billion HRK (€341 million), whereas the Chinese offer was 2.1 billion HRK (€278 million). Following a complaint procedure, the Croatian contracting authority made a formal decision on 15 January 2018 according to which China Road and Bridge Corporation won the tender.

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP), an international affairs think tank headquartered in Washington D.C. with operations inside and outside the U.S., has published on 21st November 2022 a study titled ‘Hard Cash and Soft Power: When Chinese Firms Win EU Contracts’ on the political implications of the project on the European Union and recommends that policymakers in Brussels should implement changes to the European Union’s procurement policy to avoid supporting the ambitions of its economic competitor and systemic rival.

The study can be downloaded under: