Belgrade expects free trade deal with Eurasian Union

Belgrade expects free trade deal with Eurasian Union

Serbia expects to receive a proposed free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and later start talks on finalizing the text of the deal.

Serbian Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Rasim Ljajic said this on Wednesday, a day after it was announced the Eurasian Economic Union would launch talks with Serbia.

“We expect the talks, but at this time I really cannot say when they will begin or conclude because it does not only depend on us,” Ljajic told reporters at a conference at the National Tourism Organization of Serbia.

Serbia is just one of the negotiating parties, while the EAEU consists of five nations, he said.

“Our primary objective is to retain the level of trade regime liberalisation we had with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan because 99 percent of commodities are in that regime,” Ljajic said.

The other objective is to make sure that this also includes Fiat and other products – certain types of cheese, sugar, cigarettes and wine.

“For sugar, cigarettes and wine, it is not realistic because the Russians have said that they have no interest to do so as they are protecting their own production, but Fiat is realistic, as are certain types of cheese,” Ljajic said.

This does not only depend on Russia, but also on the other four member countries, including new members Kyrgyzstan and Armenia, Ljajic noted, adding that such agreements are not conflicting with agreements Serbia has with the EU.

The EAEU decided Tuesday to hold talks with Serbia on establishing a unified trade regime.