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Dejan Vukotić, Director At AOFI

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Membership in the Berne Union, which gathers together almost all of the world’s largest agencies dealing with the insuring of export credits and foreign investments, will improve AOFI’s work and increase the chances of domestic companies becoming part of the international trading network

AOFI is the official export-credit agency of the Republic of Serbia, established in 2005 as a way of supporting domestic companies through the insuring and financing of exports.

The Berne Union comprises the world’s leading private and state-owned insurers of export credits.

Until 2017, the Berne Union and the Prague Club were two separate organisations – members of the Berne Union came from developed countries, while the Prague Club’s members came from developing countries. Since 2017 they have been unified, so together they have 84 members worldwide,  says Dejan Vukotić.

Why is credit insurance important for exporters and which sectors will AOFI’s support primarily be directed towards in the period ahead?

– In addition to its basic function – to protect users against realization risks, credit insurance has another advantage. When your bank discovers that you have credit insurance, it will believe that you have protected the flow of money and will more easily decide to grant you a loan for further operations.

Our support is intended for all exporters, but considering that the Government of Serbia has declared the decade ahead The Decade of Entrepreneurship, implying support for small and medium-sized enterprises, we have directed programmes precisely towards that sector. It is also well known that the SME sector is among the most important generators of growth.

Our support in the period ahead will be directed primarily twooards SMEs

In order to ensure the continuity of operations, improve the economic environment and increase the presence of domestic enterprises on foreign markets, it is necessary to cooperate with similar institutions from other countries, as foreign trade partners. What is the significance of AOFI‘s membership in the Berne Union?

– Membership in the Berne Union advances the operations of AOFI, thus increasing the chances for many companies to become part of the international trading network. The Berne Union is the largest union of its kind in the world. It controls about 11% of cross-border trade worldwide, equating to up to $2 billion annually.

This international organisation was established with the aim of improving international practice, accepting common principles of insurance and financing, exchanging information about customers, banks and markets, and thus creating a unified database. It brings together almost all of the largest agencies dealing with the insuring of export credits and foreign investments.

To AOFI, as well as other members of the Prague Club, membership in the Berne Union is of great importance, also due to the fact that we have thereby become part of an organisation of developed countries.

This year‘s summit of the Berne Union was held in Belgrade and attended by 250 delegates from more than 80 countries. What is the significance of annual gatherings?

– Union members gather at annual conferences in order to exchange information and improve the technical aspects of insurance. Forums for professional exchange are formed, members network, joint projects are organised… In short, we explore how credit insurance can be even better for the client.

The world is small; we trade on the same markets and face the same risks. These events also serve to allow us to directly exchange experiences.