The article focuses on developments within the ’16+1’ initiative: It aims to analyse whether the relations between China and CEECs are more multilateral or bilateral in nature and discuss the implications for business. The authors review the literature on the ‘16+1’, overview international trade and investment between CEECs and China, development of institutional framework and examine the case of China-Slovenia economic relations in greater detail. They discover that the highly intensive diplomatic relationships since the establishment of the initiative in 2012 have evolved into deeper, though unbalanced economic relations, resulting in net trade deficit and high concentration in trade and investment. Formally a multilateral platform, ‘16+1’, kept the trade policies and business strategies predominantly within bilateral relations strategies of national countries. Multilateralising the ‘16+1’ remains an opportunity for CEECs and the EU.
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