Naoki Tsukada, General Manager Of Mitsubishi Corporation’s Belgrade

Office Working Towards A Seat In The EU Opportunities Ahead

Apart from our core business in the region, which is trading, our next step is connected to Serbia’s future EU membership and our interest is related to infrastructure projects. Entering the EU will give you, and us, new opportunities for further cooperation

Mitsubishi Corporation’s Belgrade office was established more than 50 years ago in 1965, making it one of Mitsubishi Corporation’s oldest offices in the world. Today, we cover seven countries in the region from Belgrade – says Naoki Tsukada, General Manager of Mitsubishi Corporation Belgrade Liaison office.

In May 2016, Mitsubishi Corporation announced its Midterm Corporate Strategy 2018, which evolves our business model from investing to managing. To what extent are these global objectives implementable in the business environment of the Western Balkans and Serbia?

– I would like to raise two points on this subject. First, we will continue to observe Serbia’s EU accession process and its efforts to open new chapters. We would also like to see the development of infrastructure throughout the region, which Serbia needs to achieve EU status. Secondly, we see industries relocating from Western and Central Europe to Eastern Europe. Investments are moving even further away from advanced economies such as Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, to this region as it offers better opportunities.

The most important goal in Mitsubishi Corporation’s plans is to achieve sustainable development based on an analysis of world markets and political and economic projections during the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”. How do you assess the Serbian market when it comes to the implementation of these plans?

We have certain priorities in this market. We value Serbia’s position in geopolitical as well as economic -e.g. its trade advantages (FTA) with the U.S., Russia, Turkey and the EU. We have an investment in a Turkish engineering company, and are looking for development with them in the EPC sectors of infrastructure projects.

We have had a joint venture with the Serbian based company, NIS in crude oil exploration and production in Angola since the 1980s. Gazprom, who is the parent company of NIS, is also our strategic business partner, with whom we do LNG exploration and production in Russia. We will keep optimizing this relationship for our business in this region.

I would suggest you to promote your country more to the world, not just in terms of business opportunities, but the country itself

Mitsubishi Corporation is a global enterprise that operates in more than 90 countries and covers almost all sectors of industry. In which sectors are Mitsubishi Corporation Serbia mostly engaged with?

– First of all, there is our traditional core business, which is trading in Balkan countries, in terms of petrochemical products, commodity goods, such as tires and automobiles. We are also selling higher value products, such as pharmaceuticals and food ingredients. In addition, we are focusing on promoting the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) to Air Serbia. Our next step is connected to Serbia’s future EU membership and related to infrastructure projects. Entering the EU will give you, and us, new opportunities for cooperation.

Economic reforms are underway in Serbia. From the perspective of Mitsubishi Corporation and you as a Japanese businessman, what would you add as reform priorities that would be able to speed up and advance the reform process?

– I think it’s necessary and important to reform public sector or public companies. This is one of the bottlenecks when it comes to business. In general, I had such a positive impression when I first arrived in Serbia 18 months ago, which is a beautiful country with nice people, good food and wine, and with considerable possibilities for tourism as well. I would like to suggest that you promote your country more to the world not just in terms of business opportunities, but the country itself because there is a lot more for people in Japan and elsewhere to learn about Serbia.