Posted by Ak Ajans Nederland
Aug 22, 2017
Turkey signs trade agreement on agriculture with Serbia
Turkey and Serbia on Tuesday signed a trade agreement on agriculture, the first since 2011.
Ahmet Esref Fakibaba, the Turkish minister of food, agriculture and livestock, and Branislav Nedimovic, the Serbian agriculture minister, met in Serbia’s capital Belgrade to discuss ways to improve import and export between the two countries.
The agreement aims to boost the export of sunflower oil, fruits and vegetables between the two countries, and increase bilateral trade to $1 billion.
Fakibaba, in a joint press conference after the signing ceremony, said that Serbia had a decisive role to play for peace and stability in the Balkan region.
“We give great importance to improving our relations in every area, especially in the economy,” he said.
He asked Turkish businessmen to increase investment in Serbia, adding that Serbia should provide them incentives.
“Serbia is very important for us, Serbia is our great friend. We need to put a little more effort to reach the $1 billion trade volume — our common goal,” he said.
Fakibaba said that if Belgrade allows a free zone to Ankara, it could enter markets in Russia and the EU, with which it has free trade agreements.
In return, he added, Turkey could open its market for Serbia.
Nedimovic said they had focused on three main issues — updating the Free Trade Agreement, creating new quotas for various agricultural products, and investment in livestock and fruit sector – during their talks.
“Of course, this must satisfy the two sides. Our offer was beef and sunflower oil exports. This way we aim to increase production,” said Nedimovic.
He said they were open to Turkish investors, and that Turkey could be a milestone for them in the Middle East and Asian markets.
Nedimovic estimated that the free trade agreement signed eight years ago between the two countries had made a fivefold increase in trade in the agriculture sector.
He added that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic enjoyed good relations, which made it easier for the two countries to work together.
Earlier on Tuesday, the two ministers also attended the Turkey-Serbia Agricultural Business Forum, which was organized by Turkey’s lender Halkbank.
There are 75 Turkish private investments in Serbia’s textiles, food and construction sectors, totaling around $110 million.
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