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Serbia`s PM calls on Cypriot companies to invest in Serbia

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Serbia`s Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic has called on Cypriot companies to invest in Serbia and cooperate with Serbian businessmen as excellent political relations between the two countries provide a good basis for a more intensive economic cooperation.

Cvetkovic said in the Serbia-Cyprus Business Forum in Nicosia that Serbia is a country with stable economy, permanently committed to joining the EU and expecting candidate status for EU membership by the year’s end.

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Serbia is expected to achieve a 3% GDP growth this year, which is a good basis for higher growth rates which we will pursue in the coming years, stressed the Serbian Prime Minister.

As for the business environment, he stressed that Serbia has a very favourable tax regime, since the income tax of 10% of one of the lowest ones in Europe, while 18% VAT and income tax of 12% are lower than in most countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

Calling on Cypriot investors to invest in Serbia, Cvetkovic said that Serbia has concluded free trade agreements with the EU, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and countries of the CEFTA agreement.

The Prime Minister recalled that Serbia in April ended a two-year standby arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which helped the country overcome the economic crisis relatively better than neighbouring countries, adding that a new precautionary arrangement with the IMF is under way.

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Cvetkovic said that the purpose of the new arrangement, which is expected to begin in September, will not be to withdraw additional funds, because our foreign currency reserves are high and stable, but to send a message to foreign investors that the Serbian economy is stable.

Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias said that countries such as Serbia can use Cyprus as an international and regional business and financial centre to enter the EU market and the Middle East.

The relations with Serbia have an important role in the growth of the Cypriot economy, he said, adding that the strong relationship and cooperation between the two countries are expected to continue in the future.

President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (PKS) Milos Bugarin said that priority sectors for cooperation between the two countries are agri-food industry, energy and renewable energy, metal industry, tourism and investment in free zones.

He stated that the greatest volume of trade between Serbia and Cyprus recorded in 2005, while last year, due to the global economic crisis, was at a record low.

The data for the first four months of this year are encouraging, with an increase of trade volume by about 45% over the same period last year, he said.

President of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry Manthos Mavrommatis said that the Chamber understands the great potential of economic cooperation between Cyprus and Serbia, which is why it will help in promoting and strengthening economic cooperation between the two countries.



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