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News 10 Oct 17

Serbia, Turkey Sign Agreements to Boost Trade

The governments of Serbia and Turkey signed new agreements on Tuesday in the hopes improved cooperation will increase trade value by billions of dollars.

Filip Rudic
BIRN
Belgrade
Erdogan and Vucic in Belgrade. Photo: Milos Miskov/Beta

The presidents of Turkey and Serbia, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Aleksandar Vucic, signed a declaration in Belgrade on Tuesday pledging to establish a cooperation council. At the same time, the two countries' governments signed several agreements aimed at improving economic relations.

"The scale of trade is not at the level we want. [It is] 800 million [US] dollars. Maybe it will reach one billion by the end of the year," Turkish President Erdogan told a press conference after the signing.

He said he wanted the trade exchange to be worth between $3 billion and $5 billion.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: Milos Miskov/Beta

 

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that the cooperation council will convene regular sessions once a year, while Turkish and Serbian government ministers will work together in the meantime to implement bilateral agreements.

"We are a country that is friendly towards the Turkish people and the state," Vucic said, adding that on an official level, Belgrade was among the first governments to condemn the failed coup attempt against Erdogan in Turkey in 2016.

The two countries signed a total number of 12 bilateral agreements, including a revision of the free trade agreement between Serbia and Turkey.

Previously Erdogan and Vucic had an hour-long meeting, after which they continued to talk at the plenary meeting with members of Serbian and Turkish delegations.

Erdogan started his two day visit to Serbia on Tuesday morning by meeting with Vucic. The two are also scheduled to speak at the Serbia-Turkey Business Forum in Belgrade later on Tuesday.

The Turkish President will also visit the town of Novi Pazar in the mostly Bosniak Muslim region of Sandzak, in the south of Serbia.

Erdogan’s visit is accompanied by tighter security measures than those surrounding the visits of Russian President Vladimir Putin or former US Vice President Joe Biden, according to the Serbian media.

The main topic of the visit is economic cooperation between the two countries.

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