Daily Sabah | 19 August 2015
Zeybekci suggests renewal of FTA with Serbia, BiH
Following the Turkey, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina trilateral trade committee meeting, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said the free trade agreements that have been signed between the three countries should be renewed. Zeybekci explained that these agreements include all industrial goods, however, he indicated it corresponds to a mere one-fourth of the trade volume potential between these economies. Zeybekci underlined that these agreements would be more significant if they were transformed into more inclusive packages that involved the service, public, agriculture, food and tourism sectors as well. "Turkey is ready to the fullest extent to expand the free trade agreements to the service, public, food, agriculture and e-commerce sectors, which are the necessities of the time," Zeybekci said, highlighting that the trade with Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia increased about 9 or 10 fold within the last 10 years. Stressing that the foreign trade volume between Turkey and Serbia hit $750 million by the end of 2014, up from $89 million in 2001, Zeybekci said exports and imports fell by 1 and 12 percent, respectively, in 2015. Meanwhile, trade with Bosnia-Herzegovina improved from $32 million in 2001 to $290 million by the end of last year, with exports decreasing 7.5 percent and imports increasing 56 percent, Zeybekci added.
"The trade between these three countries has developed but the current numbers are at modest levels when you consider the potential," Zeybekci said, and underscored the committee’s support for sector-leading Turkish firms to invest in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and their willingness to subsidize such endeavors. The economy minister emphasized that these three countries have investable areas in which quick progression could be achieved, such as the energy, livestock, agriculture and agricultural goods processing sectors. He also reiterated the committee’s openness toward free trade zone partnership prospects and sharing knowledge and experience to the fullest extent.