Russia boasted about its investments: NIS allocated 60 million euros in projects of the Government of Serbia
The Board of Directors of the Petroleum Industry of Serbia (NIS) has decided to allocate 60 million euros to Serbian government projects in the fields of education, healthcare and social protection, russian Telegram channel RTBalkan reports.
The Russian-Serbian company, majority owned by Gazprom Neft, it adds, continuously supports such initiatives.
“For example, in 2020 the company donated 14 fully equipped ambulances to medical institutions in Serbia. In 2021, NIS invested 107.5 million dinars in environmental projects in 12 different municipalities.
In addition, the company is helping Serbian schools to equip chemistry, physics, biology and informatics classrooms, supporting science festivals and organising exercises and seminars for young professionals,” reports russia’s Telegram channel.
They recall that NIS has been “a partner of one of Serbia’s biggest football clubs, Partizan, for many years”, noting that since this year the Russian company has become a sponsor of the first FIDE Paralympic Chess Games.
The Serbian portal ekapija.com also reports that Serbia’s trade with Russia is registering record annual results. According to a statement by Dejan Delic, Director of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s representative office in Moscow for RT Balkans, Russia is fourth in the ranking of countries with which Serbia has the largest trade, after Germany, China and Italy.
Trade between the two countries amounted to $4.3 billion last year, up 52.7 percent from the year before, the Serbian portal writes.
According to the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, this trend continued in the first quarter of 2023, when a 31.8 per cent growth was recorded and total trade from January to March amounted to around 1.2 billion dollars.
Serbian exports in the first three months of this year amounted to $350 billion, a 44.2% growth compared to the same period last year, while imports amounted to $790.7 billion, up 27%.
Serbia’s main imports were oil and natural gas, urea and fertilisers, tobacco and raw materials.
The top three products by value of exports are fresh apples, hosiery and household chemicals. Serbia sells animal feed to the Russians, and the value of pet food exports grew by 38%.
Among the products from Serbia most in demand on the Russian market are Serbian-made refrigerators and freezers, whose exports have increased threefold compared to 2021.
Last year, exports of frozen fruit were two and a half times higher than the year before, while sales of wooden furniture for furnishing buildings also increased. Dairy products, cheeses and dairy spreads, underwear, and work and protective footwear and clothing are also sought by Russians from Serbia.
According to official data from the National Bank of Serbia and the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia for the period 2010-2021, the European Union is by far Serbia’s largest trading partner.
Over the last eleven years, more than 63% of the total number of FDI in Serbia came from EU-based companies, while 3/4 of all FDI came from EU countries, the USA and Switzerland.
According to the Agency for Business Registers, 1,020 Russian-owned companies were established in Serbia in 2022, ten times more than the 82 established the year before, Radio Free Europe reported.
Data from the Agency for Economic Registers show that, overall, the number of newly registered foreign companies in Serbia increased in 2022.
According to the National Bank of Serbia, free trade agreements play an important role in attracting foreign investment.
By volume, the most important are trade with the European Union and within CEFTA (Central European Free Trade Agreement between Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Moldova, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania).
The agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), led by the Russian Federation, was signed in October 2019.
On the eve of the agreement’s entry into force, official Belgrade was criticised by Brussels for Serbia’s obligation as an EU candidate country to align its foreign policy with the European one.
Serbia has agreements with Turkey and the UK, as well as with the countries of the European Free Trade Association – EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).
Serbia’s Ministry of Internal and Foreign Trade told Radio Free Europe earlier this year that the government’s aim is to “negotiate and conclude new agreements with other important partners such as China”.
They added that Serbia was considering signing free trade agreements with Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and South Korea.
However, when and if Serbia becomes an EU member, it will automatically have to terminate all FTAs it has with non-EU countries.