Momirovic: The Open Balkan Initiative aims to create a unified regional market
Serbia currently experiences stable growth in the foreign trade of goods and services, reaching 83 billion euros in 2022, Minister of Internal and External Trade Tomislav Momirovic stated, and he emphasized the significance of the Open Balkan Initiative for our region as well as the fact that Serbian businesses have been able to export to the markets of CEFTA, EFTA, Russia, the Eurasian Union, and Turkey without customs duties thanks to free trade agreements.
Speaking at the regional conference "Business with Purpose" dedicated to regional cooperation, attracting new investments, and business opportunities, organized by the Slovenian Business Club and the D.R. Gilbert Group, Momirovic highlighted that the Serbian government and the ministry he leads are working to facilitate access for domestic producers to international markets and expand the number of countries with which Serbia has signed free trade agreements.
"Intensive negotiations on free trade agreements with China, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Korea are currently underway. These markets have high demand and potential for trade, and this potential is not only for Serbia but for the entire region's economies," he said.
Momirovic stressed the importance of the Open Balkan Initiative for our region, which aims to create a unified regional market based on the principles of the European Union's single market.
According to him, the Open Balkan Initiative has initiated the resolution of several specific issues, and it is expected that an agreement addressing necessary procedures related to labor legislation and the employment of workers from all three member countries of this initiative will be signed in July.
He emphasized that the former Yugoslav states have similar economic structures and can achieve synergy through joint projects and the exchange of knowledge and experiences, thus establishing stronger economic ties.
Danijela Fisakov, the President of the Slovenian Business Club, assesses that opening new markets at the current moment presents both opportunities and challenges for entrepreneurs. Regional connectivity, she added, provides a solid foundation for accessing third-party markets.