Russian President Vladimir Putin expects the negotiations between the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and Serbia on trade preferences to be finalized soon.
“We expect that talks on preferential trade agreements with Singapore, Israel, Serbia, and in the future with India and Egypt, to be completed soon,” Putin said at a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council, Tanjug reports.
Speaking about EU member states, Putin said that they should consider the idea of creating a common payment infrastructure, which, he said, would improve the stability of the national payment systems of the EEA countries, enabling them to be less dependent on US dollar and other foreign currencies.
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Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia and Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, Rasim Ljajic told Politika daily that more than 80% of the text of the free trade agreement between Serbia and the Eurasian Economic Union has been agreed on so far. The agreement could, as expected, be signed during a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Serbia.
“So far, we have reached an agreement more than 80% of the text of this new free trade agreement. There are still six or seven tariff lines that we do have to agree on, but we are continuing to negotiate”, Ljajic says.
The final talks will be held on January 11th or 12th, when the Minister of Trade of the Eurasian Economic Union, Veronika Nikishina comes to visit. Ljajic believes that negotiations are being held in good faith and that a compromise solution will be found for the remaining six or seven tariff lines, which are not yet fully compliant.
Serbia’s trade with Russia, that is, the Eurasian Economic Union, is duty-free for about 99 per cent of products. It still remains to be seen whether Fiat will be allowed to export duty-free to the EEU market. The main problem is that what Fiat in Serbia is not manufacturing a predominantly domestic product (more than a half of the parts used should be produced in Serbia in order for the product to be classified as “domestic”).
When four years ago Western countries introduced sanctions to Russia, Serbia also felt the consequences. After record foreign trade results in 2013 and 2014, when we exported to Russia goods worth more than a billion dollars a year, Serbian exports fell three percent in 2014, and next year nearly 30 percent. All this resulted in lower demand, payment uncertainty, planning, and hence the decline in exports and imports.
With the stabilization the Ruble, in early 2016, Serbia’s exports to the Russian market recovered. The total value of the foreign trade between Serbia and the Russian Federation in 2017 amounted to $2.58 billion, while export stood at $993.1 million. Russia is the fourth biggest market that Serbia exports too with 5.7 of all Serbian exports ending up in Russia.
Imports in 2017 amounted to $1,586.2 million, with the Russian Federation occupying the fourth place n the list of the countries that Serbia mostly imports from (7.3% of Serbia’s imports come from Russia). In 2017, the export to import ratio stood at 62.48%. In terms of the overall trade value, the Russian Federation was the third biggest trading partner of Serbia in 2017.
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