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China-Serbia free trade deal to take effect in July

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RTHK | 8 May 2024

China-Serbia free trade deal to take effect in July

President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday that a free trade agreement between China and Serbia will take effect on July 1.

It is one of six measures announced by the president to support the building of a China-Serbia community with a shared future, as he met the press with his Serbian counterpart, Aleksandar Vucic, after they held talks in Belgrade.

Serbia is the first European country to build such a community with China.

Among the other measures announced by Xi, there will be more direct flights between Belgrade and Shanghai and airlines will be encouraged to launch direct flights between Belgrade and Guangzhou, and China is ready to import more high-quality agricultural products from Serbia.

"It is a strategic choice made by both sides to build a China-Serbia community with a shared future in the new era. Its goal is to realise the aspiration of the two peoples for a better life. Its foundation and driving force come from the firm support and extensive participation of the two peoples," Xi said in a joint press conference with Vucic.

Vucic called Xi an “ironclad” friend and said his visit to Serbia is “historic” because it opens the path for even closer ties.

In a joint statement, the two countries said they decided to deepen and elevate the China-Serbia comprehensive strategic partnership.

Xi arrived in Serbia on Tuesday night on the second leg of his European tour.

The visit comes on the anniversary of the Nato bombing of the Chinese Embassy in 1999 during a campaign against the former Yugoslavia to force late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic to end a crackdown on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. The bombing killed three Chinese journalists and wounded 20 Chinese nationals.

"The Chinese people appreciate the peace but will never allow that a historic tragedy repeats itself," Xi said in an opinion article in the daily Politika on Tuesday. (Xinhua and agencies)

 source: RTHK