The Americans insist strongly and firmly on the urgent abolition of customs duties, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said shortly after meeting with President Trump’s Special Envoy for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue, Ambassador Richard Grenell.
“It is extremely important that the US insists very firmly and decisively on the duties being abolished immediately and for the talks between us and Pristina to continue”, Vucic told reporters.
Asked about Grenell’s ideas, Vucic noted that the US envoy had spoken out loud and proud about the need to abolish the tariffs, yet he added that he was convinced Belgrade would be exposed to such messages in the future, on some other issues.
“For today, I have nothing else to say except that we have had an open and frank discussion which has not been easy for us; but I am glad that Grenell started strongly with the elimination of duties”, Vucic said
Vucic stressed that citizens should be aware that the tariffs applied to every Serbian citizen, implying that they also applied to Serbian Albanians.
“Their imports reduced growth by 0.4%. It has significantly reduced the possibility of raising wages and pensions. And the stronger the economy is, the more we can penetrate, the greater Serbia’s power and the higher the standards”, Vucic explained.
He reiterated his gratitude to Grenell and to Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo for their commitment to abolishing the duties, adding that he would first of all like to thank Donald Trump, since this was his policy.
Asked whether it should be expected that representatives of Belgrade and Pristina sit at the table, Vucic noted that this was subject to the elimination of customs duties.
“As soon as the duties are lifted, we are ready to sit at the table, regardless of the election campaign. We sat with them in Davos as well and in various other occasions, where we had no formal negotiations. Formal negotiations are subject to the abolition of fees. On the day the fees are lifted, we will sit at the table. Regardless of the election campaigns and everything, we’re ready for that”, Vucic responded.
The Serbian President also added that the Serbian delegation at the meeting with Grenell insisted on the four freedoms – the movement of people, goods, services and capital, which are of major importance, yet it remains to be seen how and in what stages those conversations will take place.
He said conversations on the subject were not easy for them to discuss.
“Citizens must understand that we must maintain peace and stability, safeguard the country’s economic progress and protect our interests”, Vucic underlined.
Tomorrow will be one of the busiest days on the Serbian President’s schedule, as he said he would be holding meetings for almost 16 hours, the meaning of which, on the occasion of the Munich Conference, was to attract German investors, as he would be participating in a meeting with German investors, with the support of the Chairman of the Munich Conference Wolfgang Ischinger.
“I’m ready for that and I want to attract more German investors. Ischinger, a German political legend who is well known in Germany, urged investors to come and present Serbia as an investment destination. This happening at the Munich Security Forum is a big thing”, Vucic said.
“We are presenting our policy and fighting for Serbia’s interests”, Vucic continued, noting that this helped cultivate and promote a more favorable business environment recognized by foreign companies such as the German company Brose.
The Serbian President announced that in a few days the Brose Group’s investment in Pancevo would be launched, which Vucic said would be the highest-paid factory in Serbia, with an average wage of 1,900 euros. /ibna