It is expected that by 2030, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will become the world’s fourth largest economy. Singapore will support Serbia’s membership in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a political, economic and cultural organization that includes Brunei, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar , the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, the Prime Minister of Serbia, Ana Brnabić, said recently during her visit to Singapore. She stressed that it is strategically and essentially very important for Serbia.
“For a country that is not part of Southeast Asia to sign a cooperation and friendship agreement with ASEAN, it needs the support of all ASEAN members, but Singapore is one of the most important.” We will have their full support”, said Brnabić for RTS.
According to data from the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, trade with this Asian region in the first nine months of this year amounted to 521 million dollars. Our country records a deficit because we export wood, packaging machines, calcium phosphates, combined refrigerators and freezers worth only 30 million dollars. While we import smartphones, rubber, palm oil, circuit integrated electronics, coffee, voice transmission machines worth $491 million. Last year, trade in goods was 621 million, with a deficit of 535 million dollars.
Why is the Southeast Asian region important to us?
Due to a series of problems during the corona virus pandemic, the transportation of goods from China became more expensive, which caused an increase in the prices of raw materials and final products. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations – ASEAN imposed itself as an alternative. Each of the ASEAN members has its own specialty and export products for which it is known. As a result of their profiling, they became recognizable to the world public as responsible suppliers and reliable partners. For example, Malaysia and Vietnam are known for the production of electronic devices, the Philippines for textiles and processed food, Thailand for cars and food, and the economically more developed Singapore for semiconductors and biopharmaceutical products.
Less developed ASEAN countries are additionally distinguished by the lower price of products compared to those offered by China in recent years. The price of their labor is lower than China’s and that is the reason why an increasing number of foreign investors are opening their production there and their exports are increasing. Serbian businessmen, according to all the increases in the prices of raw materials and materials that they used until now, which come from China, with the increases in transport and energy, and how they will look to reduce costs.
There is no obstacle for connecting our businessmen, importers of raw materials, with the ASEAN region, because the transport of goods to Europe is well covered. Through the Slovenian port of Kopar, delivery is faster than northern ports like Hamburg. From Thailand to our part of Europe, goods arrive in 25 days, from Vietnam in 25 to 28. From Singapore, they arrive in Koper, Slovenia, in 22 days. By rail from Hanoi to Hamburg in 22 days, and Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam are connected by road and rail to Hamburg, which goods reach in 18 to 22 days. From Bangkok by boat and rail in 19 days.
By 2030, the Southeast Asian nation is expected to become the world’s fourth largest economy. It is currently the third in the world in terms of foreign investment, and what is extremely important is that 99 percent of internal trade takes place without fees and taxes. In addition, we are constantly working on improving these facilities. All of this can mean cheaper transport, and therefore a lower final product price paid by consumers, Politika writes.