Pubblicato in: Commercio, Geopolitica Mondiale

Rep Ceka e Cina. Attiva la ferrovia Praga – Yiwu.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-08-08.

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Quando giunse la notizia che Cristoforo Colombo aveva scoperto l’America navigando per conto degli spagnoli, il senato di Genova si radunò in seduta plenaria nella sala del Gran Consiglio.

Constatarono che nulla potevano fare e che sarebbe stata spesa inutile allestire una flotta di altura, vista la collocazione geografica della Repubblica. Prese però una decisione e si somma importanza: la Repubblica avrebbe dovuto favorire lo sviluppo del sistema bancario genovese, peraltro già florido.

Pochi anni dopo, agli inizi del ‘500, si ripeté la scena: Vasco da Gama aveva aperto la via marittima per le Indie ed era tornato con la nave stracarica di spezie comprate a prezzi irrisori. Questo evento segnò la fine del commercio terrestre delle spezie fatto dagli arabi fino al Mediterraneo, e dì li smistato da Genovesi e Veneziani all’Occidente. Il Senato constatò che era terminata una lunga fase commerciale, e si riconfermò nelle decisioni già prese.

Grazie al loro buon senso iniziava quello che fu poi denominato il Siglo de Oro.

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Gli elementi del successo genovese sono molteplici, ma due spiccano: il saper prendere atto di una realtà attuale e dei suoi sviluppi futuri, anche se agli inizi quella realtà era di minima portata, ed in secondo luogo il saper riciclare nell’unica attività che loro si poteva offrire: l’avventura finanziaria per cui i genovesi divennero i banchieri dei regni, in diretta concorrenza con i Fugger di Augusta.

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Questo lungo preambolo non è stato messo a caso: serve per aiutare a capire a fondo quanto è accaduto in questi giorni.

«The freight train X8074 from Prague arrives in Yiwu, east China’s Zhejiang Province, Aug. 4, 2017. The first freight train from Prague, the Czech Republic to Yiwu arrived at Yiwu west freight station at about 11:00 a.m. Friday after a 16-day journey»

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«The train carried 82 containers of crystal products, automobile accessories, beer and some other Czech products, with total value of about five million U.S. dollars»

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«opened up a safe, fast, economic, green railway international logistics channel»

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«As of the end of July 2017, Yiwu West freight station has been set up in the Central and European countries 214 times, a total of 17204 TEU delivery. Currently, from Spain, Spain, London, Czech Republic, Czech Republic, Prague back to Yiwu, China and Europe have achieved weekly»

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Questa linea ferroviaria è stata progettata per regger fino a 500 convogli al giorno, 40,000 container al dì, circa duecento milioni di dollari. In un prossimo futuro si dipanerà fino alla Polonia a nord, Belgrado ed il Pireo, che è già cinese, a sud. Ma nulla vieta di pensare a linee raddoppiate oppure triplicate, operazioni rese ben più facili dall’avere già una linea attiva in essere.

Inoltre, il Kazakhstan, quel paese interno dell’Asia che confina a nord con la Russia, ad ovest con il Mar Caspio ed ad est con la Cina, si conquista una via di comunicazione eccellente, sia verso est sia verso ovest. Nessuno in Cina, principale finanziatrice dell’opera, si è mai posto problemi sul governo di Mr Nursultan Äbişulı Nazarbaev, il quale non rientra certo nei canoni valoriali di Frau Merkel, che infatti ha fatto il suo possibile per boicottare questa iniziativa, ma non essendo onnipotente, con ben scarsi risultati, tranne quello di rendersi molto poco popolare.

Se si è perfettamente consci che questo sia stato il primo convoglio, si è altrettanto consci che gli sviluppi dovrebbe ripagare pienamente questo cospicuo investimento.

La carta geografica è utile per capire il problema logistico dei paesi centro europei, del Visegrad, mentre il mappamondo lo sarebbe per captare visivamente l’importanza strategica.

La distanza in linea d’aria tra Praga e Pekino è circa 8,500 kilometri, ma lo sviluppo ferroviario è circa 13,000 kilometri. Al moment coperti in sedici giorni, ivi comprese le tappe, ma a regime percorribili in circa una settimana, contro i sessanta – ottanta giorni richiesti dal’invio via mare.

Ma la rotta marittima prevede il passaggio del Kattegat e dello Skagerrak, quindi dello stretto di Gibilterra, del canale di Suez, dello stretto di Aden ed infine di quello della Malacca. Tutti punti facilmente rendibili interdetti. Se è vero che l’accesso al Mediterraneo tramite il porto del Pireo è pur sempre bloccabile a Suez ed a Gibilterra, è anche vero che bypassa la capricciosa Turkia che governa i Dardanelli.

Senza uno sbocco al mare, i Paesi del Visegrad dipendono strettamente dalla loro capacità di mantenere buoni rapporti con i paesi viciniori che consentono, spesso riluttanti, il transito delle merci sui loro territori. Sono spesso contratti capestro: sia in termini di costi diretti, sia in termini di obbligo a servirsi di determinati servizi, per esempio, quelli di trasporto marittimo. Il trasporto diretto su strada ferrata da e verso la Cina abbatte i costi totali, ivi compresi i signoraggi, di quasi dieci volte. Ma non è solo un problema di risparmio economico: questa linea di comunicazione appare sicura. Politicamente e militarmente.

Il quadro strategico sarebbe però incompleto, almeno nelle sue grandi linee, se non si menzionassero gli attriti in corso tra i paesi del Visegrad e l’Unione Europea.

Al crollo dell’Unione Sovietica i paesi del Visegrad entrarono nella Nato. Loro mettevano a disposizione il loro territorio in cambio della ovvia protezione termonucleare e di aiuti economici straordinari, che avrebbero dovuto essere a carico dell’allora Unione Europea, che alla fine consentì loro di entrare. Saggiamente i paesi del Visegrad non aderirono all’euro ed all’Eurozona.

Con l’avvento della cancelleria Merkel e, poi, con la Amministrazione Obama, la Germania iniziò a nutrire forti ambizioni egemoni sull’Europa, cui voleva imporre la propria ideologia valoriale: in poche parole, voleva perseguire un’unione politica de facto sotto il proprio controllo. I paesi del Visegrad si ribellarono: nelle elezioni i partiti pro-Unione Europea furono severamente penalizzati ed i partiti vincenti vollero riappropriarsi del proprio retaggio religioso, storico, culturale e sociale. Gli attriti salirono rapidamente al calor rovente, specie con Polonia ed Ungheria.

Sembrerebbe del tutto ragionevole che attriti di questo tipo proseguano fino a tanto che Frau Merkel, volente o nolente, non cambi comportamento.

Sotto questa ottica, il Visegrad si trova ora in mano una carta di portata strategica: in un prossimo futuro potrebbe dipendere molto poco dall’Unione Europea, sempre poi che questa riesca a sopravvivere abbastanza a lungo, cosa su cui molti iniziano a nutrire dei dubbi seri.

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Quando la São Gabriel, la São Rafael e la Santa Fé attraccarono a Lisbona il 9 settembre 1499 i portoghesi fecero gran festa. Gli equipaggi si arricchirono vendendo le spezie con ricavi di mille ad uno. Tutti si rendevano conto della portata storica dell’evento e non vedevano l’ora di imbarcarsi per il viaggio della ricchezza. Eppure erano tre ‘navi’ da cento tonnellate l’una. Tuttavia i loro sogni si dimostrarono essere di gran lunga inferiori alla realtà futura.


Xinhua. 2017-08-05. First freight train from Czech’s Prague to E China’s Yiwu

The freight train X8074 from Prague arrives in Yiwu, east China’s Zhejiang Province, Aug. 4, 2017. The first freight train from Prague, the Czech Republic to Yiwu arrived at Yiwu west freight station at about 11:00 a.m. Friday after a 16-day journey. The train carried 82 containers of crystal products, automobile accessories, beer and some other Czech products, with total value of about five million U.S. dollars.


Top News. 2017-08-05. The first trip from the Czech Republic, Prague opened in the EU-China arrived in Zhejiang Yiwu

Yiwu August 4 (Reporter Xi Jinyan) at 11:18 on August 4, loaded with 82 pieces of Czech goods standard container X8074 times in Central Europe (Prague – Yiwu) to reach the railway Yiwu West freight station. With the railway Yiwu West freight station to open the EU-China international freight line, in more than two years from a rapid increase to the ninth, but also opened up a safe, fast, economic, green railway international logistics channel, but also signs With the return of Yiwu, China and the EU are becoming more and more normal, accelerating the economic and trade exchanges between Yiwu and Central Europe and interconnection.

It is reported that this is the Shanghai Railway Bureau Jinhua Cargo Center, China Railway Container Company Shanghai Branch and other railway departments and the relevant departments of Yiwu municipal government, Yiwu customs, commodity inspection, Yiwu Tianyuan company, Yiwu railway port and other road cooperation crystallization.

(Prague – Yiwu), the main goods for the crystal products, auto parts, beer and other Czech special products, the total value of about 5 million US dollars, the class run time lasted 16 days, the first batch of goods from the Czech capital Prague, Way Poland, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, the final smooth arrival of Yiwu railway port.

China and the EU (Prague – Yiwu) is an important carrier for the construction of the Czech station in Zhejiang Province. It is a new bridge for the trade between China and Czech Republic. The trip from Prague is the first since the opening of the China-Europe The first departure from the European routes, but also Yiwu West freight station following the trip to Spain Madrid, the United Kingdom London, Russia, Belarus, Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia and other countries (regions) after the ninth China-EU international freight class (Prague – Yiwu) to open the line for the Silk Road into the fresh blood, as ‘one way along the way’ to build a new hub for the Czech Republic trade opened up a new channel.

As of the end of July 2017, Yiwu West freight station has been set up in the Central and European countries 214 times, a total of 17204 TEU delivery. Currently, from Spain, Spain, London, Czech Republic, Czech Republic, Prague back to Yiwu, China and Europe have achieved weekly (The end of the day).


Visegrad Post. 2017-08-05. China Sold High-Speed Trains to Czechia

Czech Republic – China has signed a contract to sell three high-speed train trains to Czechia. This is the first Chinese contract for high-speed trains with a country of the European Union.

On December 21, the CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive group signed a contract worth 20 million euros with the Czech railway company Leo Express, according to the China News Service. According to the agency, trains will run at a speed of 160 km/h and will also be compatible with the Polish and Slovak railway networks. The first train is due to mid 2018.

In 2015, the same Chinese group delivered the same type of train to Macedonia, which is on the road linking the port of Piraeus in Greece, of which China is now majority shareholder, to Belgrade.

As for the high-speed railway linking Belgrade to Budapest, it is planned for the end of 2017 and is financed at 85% by Chinese credits.

Cooperation with China is increasing in Central Europe

This contract is in line with the Chinese project of the New Silk Road. In March 2016, Czech President Zeman had received his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to talk about the canal project linking the Danube, the Oder and the Elbe.

In June, the President of China visited Poland, where railway projects were also at the center of discussions.

The New Silk Road project is a long-term investment by China, which involves considerably Central and Eastern Europe, as well as the Balkans. As a means of developing missing infrastructure in the region, the heads of states of the CEECs (Central and Eastern European countries) support this cooperation, which is growing every year.


The Telegraph. 2017-06-29. Co-operation between China and Europe runs through Kazakhstan

The Central Asian Republics of the former Soviet Union are hoping to reap the important economic benefits of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) summit in Kazakhstan took place on 8-9 June. The next day, the 2017 Astana Expo, which is scheduled to last for three months, got under way. These two events are indicative of Kazakhstan’s – and Central Asia’s – growing geopolitical and geoeconomic importance.

China and Russia are the biggest nations that are currently members of the SCO. The other four are all Central Asian states: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

Thus, due to its membership, the focus so far of the SCO is undoubtedly on Central Asia. This is also a vital region for the Silk Road Economic Belt, which is half of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The Silk Road Economic Belt’s overland route to Europe passes through Central Asia. Rail links are undoubtedly the most important aspect of this route. Up to now the performance of these railways has been steady but relatively unspectacular. However, that is set to change as China puts an increasing emphasis on connectivity across the Eurasian landmass.

At a recent conference in Poland, scholars from Sichuan University in Chengdu emphasised how much the China-Europe rail connection has progressed in recent months. In May, for the first time, Polish apples were delivered to Chengdu’s markets by train, they said – and several weeks faster than via the maritime route, demonstrating what can be achieved.

Apples may seem like an insignificant trade item, but in terms of Sino-European co-operation via the Central Asian route, their delivery represents more than a symbolic step forward.

While the number of trains between China and Europe has been increasing rapidly, most of the wagons sent from China have been coming back empty up to now. The fact that Europeans are beginning to see the possibilities for exporting goods to China by rail brings a new dimension to the emerging land route across Russia and Kazakhstan.

The Sichuan University academics pointed out that the city of Chengdu is building a huge railway port to deal with trade to and from Europe.

Next to the port there is a market, some sections of which are set up to sell European luxury goods and other items. The railway through Central Asia is clearly assuming ever greater significance for landlocked Sichuan.

They said that the next step is to persuade European companies that the new trade route can be profitable, and that there are Chinese customers who wish to buy their products. If that happens, the Silk Road Economic Belt will really begin to take off as momentum gathers and more entrepreneurs begin to understand the route’s potential.

As far as Central Asia is concerned, growing Sino-European trade would only be good news. As the route crosses their territories, Central Asians can also cash in, receiving a percentage of the proceeds generated and boosting their economies.

Encouraging increasing economic interdependence between countries is one of the main aims of the Belt and Road Initiative. Improving infrastructure and transport links between countries along the new Silk Road is key to the success of China’s initiative.

At the same time, it is important to remember that the Silk Road Economic Belt is based not on unrealistic dreams but on sound economic principles of supply and demand.

As new markets are created, there is money to be made by anybody who gets involved. This is the reason why President Xi Jinping, who visited Kazakhstan for the SCO summit and the opening of the Astana Expo, continually stresses that the Belt and Road Initiative is intended to create win-win synergies across the more than 60 nations included.

As a facilitating body, the SCO is also key to the success of the new Silk Road’s land route. By providing a forum in which the interested parties can exchange ideas and information, it helps to smooth possible tensions and create an atmosphere of trust, most notably between China and Russia.

Central Asians, who have historical ties to Russia, understand the importance of maintaining a working relationship with their massive northern neighbour. Finding synergies between the SCO and Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union is therefore crucial to the success of the Belt and Road as far as all involved parties are concerned.

Europeans also should realise that it is in their interests to hope for positive outcomes from the SCO summit, and improved links with China via Central Asia and Russia. The world evolves through accepting change rather than resisting it.

Exploring ways to integrate European markets with Asian ones will benefit Europeans, too. The route to China, which passes through Kazakhstan and Central Asia, is therefore likely to turn out to be a vital one as European and Asian markets continue to become economically interdependent during the remainder of the 21st century.

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