EMG Conferences presents:
Key themes on Regional Economic Cooperation discussed in Belgrade
06. November 2010. | 06:50
Author: Jennifer Grubac
Photo: Saša Čolić
Ekonom:east Media Group organized the Third Annual Conference: Regional Economic Cooperation this week at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Belgrade. The conference covered key themes regarding regional cooperation, regional cohesion and regional competitiveness.The event offered participants a chance to put their issues on the table, discuss what is needed in order to improve regional cooperation and what they are doing to achieve this.
Ekonom:east Media Group organized the Third Annual Conference: Regional Economic Cooperation this week at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Belgrade. The conference covered key themes regarding regional cooperation, regional cohesion and regional competitiveness.
The event was opened by the Deputy Head of the European Delegation, Mr. Adriano Martins, who spoke of the significance of regional economic integration as a mechanism to expedite the EU integration process of Serbia.
According to Martins, CEFTA is one of the most important initiatives to improve regional cooperation and the EU will continue to support this initiative. Martins also warned that the region has not reached the growth rate that it had before the crisis, and it is therefore necessary to convince investors that the market is legally stable.
Serbia’s Ministry of Economy and Regional Development was represented by State Secretary, Vesna Arsic. Ms. Arsic spoke of the necessity of Serbia to first recognize the importance of cooperation with its neighbors in order to improve the international competitiveness of the region.
She also added that the trade agreement CEFTA is of great importance for Serbia, because the CEFTA countries, behind the EU are the second most important foreign trade partner countries, with which Serbia 2009. Had a trade surplus of 1.2 billion Euros.
Assistant Minister for Economic Policy and Development of Montenegro, Borislav Ratkovic, said that since the third quarter of 2010, Montenegro’s economy is experiencing growth and that their assessment is that Montenegro will end the year with GDP growth of 0.5 percent.They expect that Montenegro will have GDP growth of 2.5 percent next year.
Ratkovic said that the crisis has significantly affected Montenegro, but that the anti-crisis measures of the Government have substantially mitigated the effects of the crisis. He concluded that the region has the opportunity to be competitive if it jointly appears on other markets.
Luis Ople, Senior Information Office of the World Trade Organization said that WTO welcomes the efforts of Serbia to join the organization, and he is hopeful that this will happen soon.
Commenting on the third meeting of the Working Group for Serbia’s accession to the WTO, which was held two weeks ago, Ople said that there are still unresolved issues regarding the harmonization of trade law, import rights, SPS measures, copyrights etc. “When negotiations are completed, as a member of the WTO, Serbia will have the whole world as its market,” said Ople.
He added that trade can play an important role as an engine for economic growth in Serbia. However, Ople also criticized the initiative “Buy Domestic,” saying that such programs only provoke trade wars and that foreign and domestic commodities need to have the same treatment.
The event also hosted Toplica Spasojevic, the President of ITM Group, Nikola Vujacic, General Director of Victoria Group, Jerko Ivanković Lijanović, President of the Supervisory Board of Lijanovići, Vucko Vukovic, general director of Rudnap Group Minel Kotlogradnja, Sharon Valentine, Director of the USAID Serbia Competitiveness Project, Marina Wes, Lead Economist at the World Bank, Milko Stimac, President of the Securities Commission of the Republic of Serbia, Djurnica Mihotić Žižić, Chief Advisor of the Supervision Sector II for the Capital Markets Department at HANFA and Džafer Alibegović, a member of the Securities Commission of the Federation of Bosnia & Herzegovina.
The event offered participants a chance to put their issues on the table, discuss what is needed in order to improve regional cooperation and what they are doing to achieve this.