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“Win Some, Lose Some”: China’s Involvement in the Extractive and Raw Materials Industries in the Western Balkans

China is among the biggest global importers of all the Western Balkans extractive exports. Extractives and raw materials are indispensable for China due to their crucial role in supporting the country’s manufacturing sector, fueling economic growth, and driving technological advancements across various industries. A new CHOICE policy paper sheds light on China’s role in the extractive and raw materials sector in five countries of the Western Balkans, i.e. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia.

The study “Win Some, Lose Some”: China’s Involvement in the Extractive and Raw Materials Industries in the Western Balkans, written by Ana Krstinovska and Vuk Vuksanović presents a quantitative overview of the bilateral cooperation in the extractives and an analysis of its impact on the Western Balkans economies and societies, seeking to uncover the drivers behind China’s involvement and examine whether the combination of the Chinese approach and the domestic agency could lead to maximising the benefits for the Western Balkans countries. 

Based on these findings, the paper formulates policy recommendations targeting EU and policymakers and civil society of the Western Balkans. 

Written by

Ana Krstinovska

Ana Krstinovska is a CHOICE Research Fellow and the President of the North Macedonian think tank and consultancy ESTIMA. Previously, she was a Program Manager for the Center for Research and Policy Making - CRPM in Skopje, as well as a State Secretary for European Affairs and Advisor for International Cooperation/First Secretary in the Permanent Mission to the EU within the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia.

Vuk Vuksanovic


Vuk Vuksanovic is a PhD Researcher in international relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), an Associate of LSE IDEAS, LSE’s foreign policy think tank, and a Researcher at the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP).