Businessmen are waiting for the outcome of the Ukrainian crisis

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The business of our companies with Russia and Ukraine has been hampered due to problems in the transfer of money, transport and logistics, as well as due to the weakening of the local currency, said Marko Cadez, President of PKS

We don’t breathe. With these words, Milica Devic, sales manager of ITN “Eco Povlen”, a company that supplies the largest Russian trade markets with frozen fruit, describes the current uncertainty caused by the crisis in Ukraine.

– We are listening to how our country will position itself and whether it will impose sanctions on Russia, what position the European Union will take and whether it will close roads, because our trucks deliver goods to Russia through its territory and in the end what will happen in Russia itself. While we are waiting for the outcome, we are preparing the goods that we should deliver next week – says Dević.

They send goods to Russia on a weekly basis and there are no problems for now, but he notes that the Russian partner, that is, the trade chain, is urging them in the desire to be supplied and secured as soon as possible. They have no problem with the fall of the Russian ruble because their contract is tied to the euro. But they have a problem with how to honor the contract, if the crisis deepens.

“Tiger Tires”, which exports car tires to Ukraine and significantly participates in the foreign trade of the two countries, states that “Michelin”, which is the majority owner of “Tiger Tires”, monitors the situation in real time, updating information on a daily basis. They add that it is too early to assess the consequences, but they are doing everything to reduce the impact of the crisis on industrial and commercial activities.

The Serbian Chamber of Commerce has formed a crisis team whose task is to help businessmen solve the problems they have as a result of events in Ukraine, said yesterday the president of the Chamber of Commerce Marko Chadez and called on businessmen who have problems to contact them.

– Since yesterday, we have been working on the formation of a crisis center, we are posting basic information on the site, related to its work. Companies are already calling us, some of them have people who are there, some place goods on the market of Russia or Ukraine, and they have logistical difficulties, some cannot collect their claims because they have problems with banks – said Cadez.

According to him, the companies are in trouble now because they do not have clear guidelines on how to continue their business and the situation on the ground is such that the business of our companies with Russia and Ukraine is difficult due to problems in money transfer, transport and logistics. weakening of the local currency.

– It all depends on how the situation will develop, how long the crisis will last, how intense it will be, whether it will spill over even more to the financial sector and whether there will be a complete suspension of payments between the Russian Federation and the rest of Europe and the world. We can only hope that the crisis will not last long – Cadez told Tanjug.

He emphasized that it is now obvious how good it is that we have a contract for the supply of gas, which gives us some time to be able to mitigate the impact that is being felt all over the world. Serbia’s economy can be insured in the short and medium term, but in the long run it will certainly feel the consequences of the global economic crisis caused by the events in Ukraine.

He added that the EU is expected to come out with a package of measures to support the economy, which could be a good model for Serbia as well.

– We will have to adjust, because we are not isolated. Of our 10 largest exporters to Russia, nine have EU capital. If you have a big drop in the currency on the market to which you export goods, it becomes very expensive – Cadez emphasized.

According to the data of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, 244 companies export goods to Ukraine and 722 importers operate in Serbia. During 2021, compared to 2020, we record an increase in foreign trade with this country. Exports amounted to 181.4 million dollars, which is 45 percent more than the previous year, and imports of 268.8 million dollars, which is 61 percent more. In this market, we mostly sell mineral fertilizers, floor coverings, sheets, tires, paper, medicines. While we mainly import iron ores and concentrates, wood pellets, veneer sheets and other wood from Ukraine.

When it comes to trade with Russia, it is the third trade partner of Serbia, and the trade exchange last year was 2.8 billion dollars.

The Russian currency has been weak against the euro for months and is now 30 percent lower than in 2020. The fall of the ruble affects the competitiveness of export products from Serbia. Therefore, it is expected that our growth of exports to Russia will be slowed down in the coming period. In addition, due to the political crisis, the price of oil and gas reached the highest level in the last seven years.

In 2021, compared to the previous year, exports increased by 9.3 percent and amounted to 996.2 million dollars, imports increased by 15.3 percent and amounted to 1.8 billion dollars. The leading export products of the Republic of Serbia to the Russian Federation are fresh apples, outer pneumatic tires for passenger cars, tights, paper and cardboard, medicines, detergents, dog and cat food.

We import natural gas, crude oil and oils from bituminous minerals from Russia. 577 companies export from Serbia to Russia. The exporters we talked to say that there are no problems in business for now, but it is too early to say what will happen in the future. Mostly everyone is following the situation. Boško Bondžulić, a representative of the exporter of frozen fruit, notes that raspberries and blackberries are currently being sold freely in Russia. If there is a problem, it will be a drop in the bucket, because in general, the export of this fruit has fallen by 60% since October last year due to too high purchase prices, and foreign buyers simply will not buy at such a high price, Politika writes.