Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic underlined at the Serbian-Turkish Business Forum in Istanbul on Friday that Serbia is one of the most appealing markets for investors in Europe as far as economic environment and investment climate are concerned.
Cvetkovic informed Turkish entrepreneurs that Serbia’s economy is beginning to show signs of recovery with the expected economic growth around 3 percent in 2011.
According to him, Serbia is offering financial incentives to investors, and the free trade agreements it has signed with a number of other countries provide free access to the markets catering to more than a billion people.
The prime minister noted that the country’s political stability guarantees the security of investments, recalling that, the Serbian government has demonstrated its commitment to the country’s EU integration.
“The political relations between our two countries are excellent, and they represent a solid foundation for good economic cooperation which is closely linked to the cultural ties. Our peoples have similar history, and they also stand a good chance of sharing a promising future,” Cvetkovic told Turkish entrepreneurs.
He pointed out that the Serbian economy is showing signs of going out of the economic crisis with the expected economic growth of 3% or more in 2011.
Speaking of legislation favourable to business, the Prime Minister said that the profit tax in Serbia of 10% is among the lowest in Europe, while the value added tax of 18% and income tax of 12% are lower than in most countries of Central and Eastern Europe.
Serbia, he added, offers financial incentives to investors, as well as free trade agreements enabling access to markets with more than one billion people.
Cvetkovic said that political stability is a guarantee of security of investments in Serbia, and recalled that thanks to the Serbian government’s policy, our country now firmly stands on the path of European integration.
Addressing the participants of the forum, PKS President Milos Bugarin noted that two peoples have certain similarities in terms of customs and culture, adding that liberalization of trade relations has created opportunities for improvement in economic cooperation.
The Turkish-Serbian business forum was an opportunity for bilateral talks between Serbian entrepreneurs and Turkish companies which are interested in investing into Serbia, and Cvetkovic’s meetings with representatives of Turkish leading companies represent a great contribution in this respect.
The gathering of businessmen, organized in cooperation of the Turkish Chamber for international economic relations and Serbian Chamber of Commerce (PKS), was met with great interest in Istanbul’s business circles.
During the talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Thursday, it was agreed that, in the coming period, the two countries should invest their efforts into strengthening of the relations, particularly those in the field of economy. The sector of transportation infrastructure was singled out as the one in which progress could be expected shortly.
Cvetkovic noted with regret that in goods exchange with Turkey, Serbia has a huge deficit, and that despite excellent political relations, there are no significant investments on either side.
So far, Turkey has invested in Serbia around EUR 45 million, which is way below the capacity of the country’s economy, taking into account the investments in some neighbouring countries- Romania USD 9.5 billion, Bulgaria USD 4.5 billion.
The Serbian Prime Minister and Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan agreed yesterday in Ankara that a period of strengthening bilateral relations is ahead of Serbia and Turkey, especially of economic cooperation, with the sector of transport infrastructure being one of the areas where progress could be made the soonest.
Cvetkovic also met yesterday in Ankara with Speaker of the Turkish parliament Mehmet Ali Şahin.
The Serbian Prime Minister met today in Istanbul with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople.
The Serbian delegation also includes First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Ivica Dacic, Minister of Labour and Social Policy Rasim Ljajic, Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning Oliver Dulic and Minister Without Portfolio Sulejman Ugljanin.