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Russian energy minister: Russian, Serbian trade cooperation enters a new level

December 13, 2013, 23:36 UTC+3 BELGRADE
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BELGRADE, December 13, 23:34 /ITAR-TASS/. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in Belgrade on Friday that Russia and Serbia had brought their trade and economic cooperation to a new level in the past 12 months.

Novak had attended the 12th meeting of the Russian-Serbian Inter-Governmental Committee for Trade, Economic and Scientific-Technological Cooperation, of which he is a co-chairman. Novak’s Serbian counterpart Milan Bacevic, who is the Serbian minister of natural resources, mining and spatial planning, co-chairs the inter-governmental committee from the Serbian side.

Novak said that Russian-Serbian trade had grown by 13 percent in the first nine months of 2013 as against 2012 which saw a certain decline in reciprocal trade exchanges.

“More importantly, today we are switching over from trade to investments and implementation of concrete projects in Serbia and Russia,” the Russian minister emphasized. He mentioned that Russia and Serbia were successfully building a Serbian section of the South Stream gas pipeline. The first joint was welded on November 24 this year.

“The Russian side is meeting its commitments on the project in full measure,” Novak went on to say.

For his part, Milan Bacevic noted that the 12th meeting of the inter-governmental committee had been successful and had ended with signing a relevant protocol.

“We do not have a single issue that would cause our concern,” the Serbian minister said. According to him, Russia and Serbia had all the necessary preconditions to complete all the joint projects for the benefit of the two countries.

Bacevic described South Stream as the most successful project. However, he did not forget to mention another two vital agreements with Russia concluded in the financial and banking sector: the first concerns a Russian loan to Serbia to cover the budget deficit inherited from the previous Serbian government; the second concerns the development of Serbia’s railway infrastructure.

Bacevic also said that the Serbian side had managed to decrease by 29 percent its foreign trade imbalance in trade and economic relations with Russia.

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