Serbian Trade Minister Tomislav Momirovic on May 16 said that regional economic integration was among most important government’s goals, while trade facilitation was one of the most important ongoing reforms in Serbia.
Speaking at the opening at a regional conference on boosting capacities of national coordinating bodies for trade facilitation, held in Belgrade under the auspices of USAID, the World Bank (SB) and the Swiss Government, Momirovic said that after the EU, CEFTA countries were Serbia’s most important trade partners.
WB Country Manager for Serbia Nicola Pontara said that regional economic integration through trade and networking of countries was the driving force of economic growth and was especially important for the Western Balkans. He also said that integration of the Western Balkans and the EU was necessary, because more than 70 percent of goods from the region were exported to the EU, which was also the biggest source of foreign investments and provided access to the market of more than 500 million people.
U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Christopher Hill said it was necessary to find a way to again join the countries created after the break-ups into communities which would meet economic needs of each individual country.
“Finding such a solution has proved to be a challenge, because new borders have been established, particularly in the Balkans,” Ambassador Hill said, adding that it had turned out that such borders should not be dividing, but connecting countries.” The ambassador added that it was why he was a strong supporter of the Open Balkan initiative.