MINSK -- Serbia and Belarus signed a Free Trade Agreement in Minsk on Tuesday, envisioning mutual abolition of customs duties and other taxes.
The agreement was signed by Serbian Economy Minister Mladan Dinkic and Belarus's Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov.
Dinkic and Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said that the agreement would bolster cooperation between the two countries.
The economy minister said that Serbian business was keen "not only on investment capital, creating joint companies, but also placing joint products on the markets of third countries," Itar-Tass reports.
Lukashenko called for the creation of a Serbia-Belarus Council for Business Cooperation, explaining that such a council would not contradict the work of the joint inter-governmental commission, "but would allow problems to be solved more quickly."
"We would like to establish cooperation not only with representatives of rich states, but with specific people from friendly states, such as Serbia. Those are our people and we'd like to create working conditions for you," said the president.
He said that the current level of trade between the two countries of USD 65mn was not high and that the potential for cooperation was a lot greater.
"The free trade agreement with Belarus is of fundamental importance for Serbian industry, because it will open up an opportunity to export goods duty-free to a market of 10 million consumers, Dinkic stated. Likewise, foreign investors who manufacture in Serbia will also benefit from this," he said, stating that the agreement would substantially increase Serbia's export.
Dinkic underscored that the government's strategy for the following period was to turn Serbia into one of the most attractive countries for production for the purposes of duty-free export to Third World countries.