British-Serbian conference as part of the 180th anniversary celebration of diplomatic relations between the two countries held in Belgrade
Sir Judge: Serbia on the right path with its ambitious reform
BELGRADE, 3 March (Tanjug) –The Serbian Government is conducting an ambitious reform programme while the score given by the international credit rating agencies and the improvement of its placement on the World Bank list go to show that Serbia is moving in the right direction and that its credibility of a business destination is rising, said Sir Paul Judge today, the president of the British-Serbian Chamber of Commerce.
“Serbia has now realized what it needs to do in order to join the modern world, but it needed the time to get organized, as it had a 10-year lag behind the other countries in the Southeast Europe due to the war of the 90s“, said Judge at the 5th British-Serbian Conference “Key Business Opportunities“.
At the conference held in Belgrade to mark 180 years of diplomatic relations between Serbia and the UK organized by the Eurosfera consulting agency, Judge pointed out that the World Bank’s ease of doing business index for Serbia had improved, and that the International Monetary Fund was on Serbia’s side now in the stand-by arrangement to provide financial support.
“Regarding the World Bank indicators, Serbia has moved up and is now in the top 50 countries. This is very important since the investors rely on the World Bank data on country index when looking to invest in a country“, Judge said and invited the Government of Serbia to further improve these indices which are vital for the country as they speak of country’s reputation in the commercial sense.
The successful completion of privatization is essential for the further growth of Serbian economy, he stated, and this is where Great Britain can be of assistance thanks to its abundant knowledge and experts, although this will require the enhancement of the rule of law and independent judiciary in order for the people to have trust in the judicial branch.
He added that Great Britain supports Serbia on its path to EU, and reminded that the two countries were on the same side in the two world wars and have had this in common ever since.
“Ironically, we encourage your membership into EU, as we are about to leave it. We support the desire of the Serbian people to join the community of European people and we want this to be a success story“, he asserted.
There are more and more Serbian companies in Britain, Sir Judge said, and the greatest Serbian exports to Great Britain are car parts, agricultural goods, automatic products and primary products (iron, steel and rubber).
Simultaneously, the presence of the British business sector is increasingly higher in Serbia with 100 companies operating in Serbia and this well-operated network is ever expanding.
The State Secretary of the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nemanja Stevanovic, said that there had been ups and downs in cooperation with Great Britain, however Britain has always been a true friend of our country.
“We wish we had a greater number of investors from Britain, and this is what we expect from the EU’s second largest economy“, he iterated.
In his reminder of success stories, such as the investment of the British American Tobacco in Vranje Tobacco Industry, Stevanovic stated that in the forthcoming period efforts would be made to enhance cooperation in the ICT sector, as Serbia has around 1,500 innovation companies in software production.
According to professor Mihajlo Rabrenovic of the Conference Organizing Committee, Great Britain presents a signficant potential to strenghten Serbian exporting capacites and foreign trade operations.
The conference was organized with the support of the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Embassy of Great Britain to Belgrade, the UK Department for International Trade, Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, British-Serbian Chamber of Commerce, British Society of Serbia and British Business Network under the auspices of the Serbian Minister for EU integration.
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