Friendship is the largest capital between Belarus and Serbia

Friendship is the largest capital between Belarus and Serbia

Belarus and Serbia would like to achieve a trade turnover of $500 million. Last week, the prime minister of that Balkan country visited Minsk. At a meeting with President Alexander Lukashenko the sides discussed how to effectively switch to direct deliveries of goods, without intermediaries. And even more - to create joint ventures.

Serbia is a member of the Central European Free Trade Association. This is a duty-free market of 30 million. And the country is an official candidate for EU membership.

Zivorad Smiljković, head of a representative office of an engineering company:
We can use the automotive industry in Belarus. I mean trucks, buses, trolleybuses.

He has been working in Belarus for 17 years. Zivorad says it is comfortable for him to conduct business.

Zivorad Smiljković, head of a representative office of an engineering company:
When I came to Belarus, I liked it here. This is my second home.

The Belarus head of state visited the Balkan country four times. Even when in 1999, when NATO planes stormed the sky of Serbia, Alexander Lukashenko flew to Belgrade to express support for the residents of the republic.

The Serbian leader, Tomislav Nikolic, was the first of the leaders of all countries who visited Belarus after the latest presidential elections in Belarus in 2015.

Not so long ago the head of the Serbian parliament made her first visit to Belarus and head of government is also here. Back in 2009 the two countries signed a free trade agreement. As a result, in 2015 the trade turnover amounted to $250 million. However, the trade volumes fell.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
After your visit to Belarus, we will find ways that will lead us to the restoration of our trade. And it was very high! Still, we once had a $250 million turnover. It is very well for our republics. And the fact that we now have a drop... In every way we must take every effort to ensure that we at least reach the level that we had. We are ready to do for you all that we can do. We don't have prohibited topics for cooperation; even in the most difficult times, we have always supported you and will support.

Aleksandar Vučić, chairman of the Government of the Republic of Serbia:
Our relationship has always been very good, but we, as you have said, have to increase turnover. Belarus is a friendly country, not only for the Republic of Serbia, but for the Serbian people.

Belarus and Serbia have repeatedly stressed that their next goal in turnover is $500 million. There are a lot of investment projects going on. Minsk World today is among the three of the most ambitious construction projects of Belarus.

An MTZ (Minsk Tractor Works) assembly plant is working in Novi Sad and in 2008, the relevant joint venture opened there.

Buses of Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ) are assembled at a joint venture in Kragujevac. Today, machines labeled "Made in Belarus" occupy more than half of the Serbian market.

Zoran Vulovic, businessman (Serbia):
The Serbian market needs trucks and buses. Unfortunately, our two state-owned companies perform poorly. Now Serbia's market is open to machinery.

At the Council of Ministers, Belarus and Serbia signed a road map. In fact, this is a business plan for the next two years. A principal proposal is transition from trade to cooperation. In addition, plans have been made to create a joint production of fire trucks.

Vladimir Koltovich, Trade Minister of the Republic of Belarus:
The biggest capital that we have is our friendship. And it's mutual. It gives a strong, solid foothold for the development of relations in all spheres.

The parliamentary dialogue helps develop trade and economic relations. In January 2013, a group of friendship with Belarus was set up. It includes 57 people from the new convocation of parliament.