The fourth “Expo: Russia – Serbia” event opened in Belgrade on Wednesday, along with the 4th Belgrade Business Forum.

Doing the honors were Serbian First Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, and Russian First Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Gleb Nikitin.

The officials urged businesspeople in both countries to make more use of the opportunities provided by the Serbia-Russia free trade agreement.

In his address, Dacic said that the Serbian government was “committed to the development of economic relations with the Russian Federation” and noted there were “significant opportunities to strengthen cooperation in this field.”

“I would particularly like to highlight the interest of the Republic of Serbia in further development of overall relations with the Russian Federation, on the basis of strategic partnership and commitment of both sides for its deepening in all areas,” Dacic said in his speech, carried by the Serbian government’s website, and added:

“On behalf of the government of Serbia and in the capacity of co-chairman of the Serbian-Russian Intergovernmental Committee on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation, I express a strong and unequivocal support for joint efforts aimed at further improvement and diversification of economic cooperation.”

“The past history of rich and intertwined relations between Serbia and Russia testify of the mutual interest and need for close cooperation in various fields, which gives impetus to use all opportunities for a more dynamic economic cooperation,” Dacic said, while according to him, an important element in the creation of a stimulating business framework is “institutional support, which is indubitable both on the Serbian and Russian sides, and includes all levels of government and economic structures.”

Economic relations between our two countries are developing and being enriched with new contents, despite objective difficulties and challenges at the international level, the minister said.

“We are interested in the continuation of positive trends, seeking to improve energy cooperation with Russia, increase the volume of trade (in 2016 it amounted to EUR 2.086 billion) and expand the list of goods that are traded, to finish the old and start new infrastructure projects.”

“We expect to record in the coming period not only a growth of investment cooperation, but also the growth of export from Serbia to Russia, that all resources of the Serbian economy be used, especially in the tourism and car industry, in addition to the traditional export of building materials, furniture and agricultural products,” Dacic said, and encouraged Serbia’s Russian partners and domestic business people “to use the privileges of the free trade agreement between our two countries more.”

“I would like to use this opportunity to emphasize once again the commitment of the government of the Republic of Serbia to the overall development of economic cooperation with the Russian Federation and the belief that the result of this and similar events will be realization of concrete business deals,” the Serbian minister concluded.

Tanjug is reporting that the event, that will run through March 17, will bring together around 200 representatives of companies from Serbia, Russia and other South-East European countries, and feature a large number of round table discussions, corporate presentations and meetings between the participants and officials of ministries, as well as bilateral business meetings.

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