In the last decade, the Russian investment expansion in Serbia was worth $ 4 billion. The majority of the investments, almost 90%, were made in a single economic segment – oil and oil derivatives. Although the external trade between Russia and Serbia is worth billions of dollars, Serbia has been recording deficit due to a substantial import of oil and gas.
Only 10% of the Russian investments in Serbia ended up in other sectors like finance and food. Economy expert, Ljubomir Madzar says that Serbia’s dependency on Russian oil dates back to the time of the former Yugoslavia.
“This is just a continuation of a normal, long-term tendency since we cannot cover even 25% of our demand from our own oil and gas production. Serbia is not the only country in this position. The Western European countries are in the same position too”, he adds.
The Russian Federation is one of the most important external trade partners of Serbia, primarily thanks to the free trade agreement between the two countries.
“For years now, Russia has been constantly among the top five countries that Serbia has been exporting to the most”, the Serbian Development Agency says.
Last year, Serbia exported 795.1 million dollars worth of goods and services to Russia, which is a 9.9% compared to 2015. At the same time, Serbia imported 1.51 billion dollars of goods from Russia which is a 12.7% decline. This year started even better for Serbia. In the first fourth months, our export grew by 22.3% relative to the same period last year, while the import grew 18.3%.
“Last year, Serbia was the biggest apple exporter to Russia”, the Serbian Development Agency informs.
Russian companies are very noticeable in the transport sector too. RZD International, a subsidiary of Russian Railways, plans to finalize, by the year end, the acquisition of an over 50% share in the Serbian company that modernizes transport infrastructure. Since March 2014, RZD International has been working on building and revitalizing railway infrastructure in Serbia, which is funded by Russia through an $800 million loan given to the Serbian Railways.
Facts about Russian investments
– There are over 30 Russian companies in Serbia
– Russia has a notable presence in banking (Sberbank, VTB Bank, Marfin Bank – owned by Expobank which majority owner is Igor Vladimirovich Kim, a Russian businessman close to Vladimir Putin)
– Russia is the third biggest foreign trade partner of Serbia (after Italy and Germany)
– 90% of Russian investments in Serbia went to the energy sector.
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