News 17 Oct 16

Albania-Serbia Trade Grows From Modest Base

Trade between Albania and Serbia is growing steadily, albeit from a low base - and the disparity between what Serbia sells to Albania, and what Albania sells to Serbia, remains huge.

Fatjona Mejdini, Natalia Zaba
BIRN
Tirana, Belgrade
Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama and his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic during Nis economic forum. Photo: BETA

Trade between Albania and Serbia continues to grow, although the total size and value of the exchange remains modest - and economists believe much of the potential has yet to be explored.

Ines Mucostepa, chair of the union of chambers of commerce and industry in Albania, told BIRN that exchange visits between the Prime Ministers of Albania and Serbia and their joint presence at the Nis economic forum in Serbia would boost trade.

"Participating companies at the Nis forum will talk business-to-business about their activities and I'm sure this will have positive economic effects. Serbia and Albania have big development potential," she said.

Currently, most trade between Albania and Serbia is in minerals, fuels, and electric energy. Albania imported around 55 million euros worth of products from Serbia in 2015 from these categories. In the same year, Serbia imported about 10 million euros worth of minerals, fuels, and electric energy from Albania.

The second biggest category for exchange is food, drinks and cigarettes. Albania imported 48 million euros worth of goods from Serbia in 2015 in this category while Serbia imported 8.6 million euros worth of goods over the same period from Albania.

The thirds biggest category of products for exchange for Albania are textiles and shoes. In 2015, Albania exported 1.6 million euros in this category to Serbia.

For Serbia, the third category of goods for export to Albania is building materials and metals, worth 19.5 million euros in 2015.

The Albanian Institute of Statistics, INSTAT, said the two countries had a total trade exchange worth around 170 million euros in 2015, up from around 162 million euros in 2014.

While the growth rate remains healthy, the disparity in trade between the two countries is marked.

The value of Albanian exports to Serbia in 2014 was only 11 million euros, less than a tenth of the value of the trade going in the opposite direction. During the same year, Serbia sold products worth 151 million euros to Albania.

Albanian exports to Serbia have risen recently, however. In 2015, the value of its exports to Serbia doubled to 21.2 million euros compared to 2014.

On the other hand, Serbian exports to Albania fell slightly over the year by 2 million euros, to a total of 149 million euros.

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