Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration Bozidar Djelic said on Thursday that being part of the CEFTA agreement has been very beneficial for Serbia because the that is the only market with which Serbia has a continuous trade surplus.
Speaking at the event “Experiences of CEFTA agreement and competitiveness of Serbian economy in the region“, organised by the Centre for New Policy, Djelic specified that in 2007 Serbia’s surplus in trade with CEFTA member states was almost €1 billion and last year it grew to €1.3 billion.
The competition which Serbia has in CEFTA countries prepares it for even harsher competition at the EU market, he said and added that the potential of economic cooperation with the countries of the region has not been exhausted, especially with Croatia and Albania.
CEFTA agreement is beneficial for the entire region and it will reach its full effect once the member countries move from cooperation in trade to cooperation in production. Thus, local firms would create logistic ties in the region and resist competition from multinationals.
The Deputy Prime Minister said there are problems with the implementation of CEFTA in the form of over 100 non-customs barriers, which simply serves to show that the region is far from creating a free market.
Cooperation within CEFTA is not enough for its member countries to surpass the crisis, Djelic noted, adding however that its role in the stabilisation of the region should not be underestimated.
President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce Milos Bugarin stressed that during the crisis, the importance of establishing links and strengthening economic cooperation in the region became evident, as opposed to mutual competitiveness among countries.
Bugarin noted that Serbian companies are insufficiently acquainted with the advantages offered by the CEFTA agreement, adding that according to a survey, only 38.7% of small enterprises in Serbia believe that the agreement has been to their advantage.
Source Serbian Government.