Serbia’s export opportunities in 2020, apart from traditional potentials like those of the agricultural timber and textile industries, are in high-tech sectors (IT, biotechnology etc.), as the world’s fastest growing industries and sectors that contribute to greater competitiveness
The Serbian Export Credit and Insurance Agency – AOFI is not a bank, though it does help exporters to resolve their liquidity issues. What do you do for domestic companies in order for them to be more competitive on foreign markets?
As an institution that promotes and supports the exports of the Republic of Serbia, AOFI has developed a range of products and services to enable export-orientated companies to compete on an equal footing with international competition on the international market. Our products and services are conceived in such a way that they track our exporters from the moment of contracting export business until payment is received for exports realised.
The priority is to create conditions to utilise the comparative advantages of Serbian products through insurance, financing and guaranteeing. In this way we would improve Serbia’s position on international commodity and services markets, considering that the growth of Serbia’s foreign trade exchange – especially its export components – should enable continuous investment long-term, the growth of employment and increases in both GDP and public revenues of the Republic of Serbia.
Export credit institutions, which include AOFI, form a large global network. How is your mutual cooperation and why is it important for both international trade and national economies?
AOFI pays special attention to establishing and maintaining successful relationships with international financial institutions, development banks, export credit agencies and commercial banks. We are a member of the Berne Union, the global union of credit and investment insurers, within which we’ve established very successful business cooperation with other members.
We work closely with all ministries, but mostly with the ministries of the economy, finance and trade & telecommunications
Our connections with related agencies from around the world can help not only Serbian exporters, but the entire economy, because its end goal is to increase trade. We are also connected to the Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Serbia, and this cooperation enables us to further expand our network of international partners. The aim and mission of AOFI is to act jointly with all development, financial and other institutions in the country, but also with foreign companies and institutions, with the goal of finding long-term solutions for encouraging exports while improving their structure and competitiveness.
What was last year like in terms of exports? Where are our export opportunities for the period ahead?
The positive macroeconomic results being achieved by the Republic of Serbia are partly influenced by the continuous increase in exports. For the first 11 months of 2019, exports increased by more than seven per cent compared to the same period of 2018 and the foreign trade deficit fell, i.e. the coverage of imports by exports. This trend of export growth is also expected to continue in 2020 as a result of the comprehensive economic policy implemented by the Government of the Republic of Serbia.
Our export opportunity is to place goods and services not only on the markets of the European Union and CEFTA member countries, but also in the very prosperous region of the Middle East and North Africa, which in the 1970s and 1980s, during the time of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, participated significantly in the country’s foreign trade exchange.