Ljajić: Five important areas for improving cooperation with Algeria

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and Internal Trade and Telecommunications Rasim Ljajić noted that a significant increase is likely in the economic cooperation between Serbia and Algeria in the fields of civil engineering, agriculture, water management, pharmaceuticals and health care, while there is already a fairly good cooperation in the field of military industry.

Opening the Serbia-Algeria Business Forum at the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Ljajić said that Serbia is interested in signing agreements with Algeria on avoidance of double taxation, free trade and bank guarantees, as well as in encouraging the mutual cooperation of the business communities of the two countries.

The Minister pointed out that economic cooperation between the two countries had been very intensive until the 1990s after which a period of stagnation ensued until 2012 when the trade exchange value reached 26 million euros, which is far below the capabilities.
He said that it is necessary to establish joint ventures in various fields, and added that the Mixed Committee on Economic and Science Technological Cooperation between Serbia and Algeria is considering the possibility of including Algerian companies in the privatization and investment process in Serbia.

Ljajić said that Serbia wants its companies to go back to the Algerian market where they can be competitive, noting that the Serbian companies “Energoprojekt”, “Hidrotehnika”, “Putevi Užice”, “Hemofarm” and “ITN” already do business in Algeria.

The Algerian Minister of Water Resources Hussein Naseeb voiced his hope that, during 2014, Serbia and Algeria will sign agreements on avoidance of double taxation and banking guarantees, and called on Serbian companies and experts to take part in the construction of wells for the dams in the country.

Naseeb said that Algeria wants to achieve economic diversification and self-sufficiency in order to ensure food security, which is why enormous resources have been invested in the water systems, and reiterated that it would be desirable for Serbian experts to participate in the construction of wells for these systems.

He recalled that two joint ventures have already been formed with success, one of which was formed by the Serbian “Hidrotehnika-Hidrogradnja” with the Algerian hydro-engineering firm for the construction of dams, and the second by the Algerian company “PRODA-FRIGOMEDIT” and “ITN Group” for the construction of silos and refrigeration systems in the food industry.

Naseeb stated that Algeria wants to rehabilitate its industry, roads and railways and also noted that there is a possibility for technology transfer.

The President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce Željko Sertić noted that the most significant cooperation now is in the military industry, adding that we cannot be proud of good and quality projects in economy.

Sertić said that we need to see what the potential fields of cooperation are, adding that, in the past year, we have made serious reforms, and changed the business legislation which improved the business environment for concluding agreements.

Sertić encouraged the businessmen to exchange ideas at the bilateral trade talks and urged them to contact the Chamber if they have any problems with the state institution and administration, and promised that the Chamber of Commerce will provide all necessary assistance.

The Business Forum has gathered 33 companies from Algeria and 45 companies from Serbia.