Erdogan to visit Belgrade Tuesday – Economic ties at the focus

Erdogan to visit Belgrade Tuesday – Economic ties at the focus

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be on an official visit in Belgrade tomorrow, October 10, in what could be a major boost to the two countries’ economic ties.

Erdogan will visit Serbia between Monday and Wednesday to discuss bilateral relations, including trade. He is scheduled to meet his Serbian counterpart and the country’s parliament speaker. According to the president’s press office, the two countries’ leaders are also expected to attend a Turkey-Serbia business forum.

Expectations are high among turkish, serbian business communities from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s upcoming visit, as they expect amendments to free-trade deal to become official.

“The amendments to the FTA were harmonized last week and will become official during the upcoming visit of the Turkish state and business delegation to Serbia”, Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Marko Cadez told Anadolu Agency.

Cadez argues that there is still “an enormous untapped potential in both countries”, despite the figures of the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat), according to which trade volume between the two countries since the FTA was signed in 2009 and has skyrocketed to nearly $900 million in 2016 from $362 million in 2009. Turkey’s export to Serbia stood at $442 million while its import from the country was more than $284 million in January-August 2017, according to TurkStat.

Cadez told Anadolu that amendment to the FTA would bring into Serbia new factories and facilities, and new export channels, whereas Turkish investors would get profitable businesses in return.

Aleksandar Medjedovic, president of the Turkish-Serbian Business Council of the Foreign Economic Relations Board, said: “Serbia attracts the highest amount of direct investment in the region”, adding that Serbia can become a springboard for Turkish companies seeking to expand in Europe.

The turkish business presence in Serbia counts more than 70 companies, with a total investment volume of USD 113 million in Serbia, mainly in textiles, food and construction sectors./IBNA