EC: Serbia can have bilateral free trade deals until it joins Union


Serbia can freely conclude trade agreements with other countries or organisations before joining the European Union, "provided that this is not to the detriment of the provisions of the EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Agreement," a European Commission (EC) spokesman Peter Stano told the Belgrade Beta agency on Wednesday.

Referring to the Serbia-China Free Trade Agreement announcement, Stano added that „as part of the negotiations on EU membership, Serbia should withdraw from all bilateral free trade agreements on the day of joining the Union.“

After talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic said that such an agreement should be signed by the end of the year, underlining it would significantly increase trade between Serbia and China and additionally attract foreign investors to Serbia.

Stano added that „the EU is Serbia’s most important trade and investment partner.“

According to him, „in 2020, 61 percent of its trade was with the EU with very favourable growth dynamics, while China’s share in foreign trade amounted to eight percent.“

When it comes to foreign direct investment (FDI) in Serbia, the share of EU companies was 69 percent, while direct investment from China was 3.5 percent, Stano added.