EghtesadOnline: Iranian Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mohammad Shariatmadari signed three agreements during his visit to Belgrade, the capital and largest city of Serbia to take part in the 15th session of Iran-Serbia Economic Commission that started on Thursday.
Shariatmadari signed the first memorandum of understanding with Serbian Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Rasim Ljajic. The agreement is aimed at promoting bilateral economic cooperation, IRNA reported.
The second MoU stipulated cooperation in the aviation sector and was signed between the Iranian side and Minister of Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure of Serbia Zorana Mihajlovic.
The last agreement, signed in the presence of Serbian Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy Branislav Nedimovic, pertained to plants protection, according to Financial Tribune.
Ljajic stressed the need to increase trade between the two countries and said positive negotiations were held between Iran and Serbia to sign a free trade agreement.
Serbia abolished visa requirements for Iranians from August 23, 2017, and in return Iran did the same for Serbian citizens from October of that year.
After a gap of 27 years, direct flights between Iran and Serbia resumed on March 10, 2018, when an Iran Air jet touched down at Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla airport. Iran Air is offering a direct service between Tehran and Belgrade twice weekly, with all flights fully booked until the end of the summer.
Ljajic said the abolition of visa and the launch of direct flights are constructive steps toward strengthening ties, boosting trade and increasing cooperation in economic ties and tourism.
He added that Iranians are interested in importing meat from Serbia and negotiations are underway in this regard.
Shariatmadari also met President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic. The two sides emphasized the need to promote mutual cooperation. The Iranian minister delivered President Hassan Rouhani’s invitation and expressed hope that Vucic would soon visit Tehran.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in February visited Belgrade to explore avenues for expanding bilateral economic ties.
In a meeting with his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic, Zarif named oil, gas, petrochemicals, mining, agriculture and IT as suitable areas for expansion of relations.
Iran traded $24.37 million worth of non-oil goods with Serbia in the last fiscal year (ended March 20, 2018), registering a decline of 53.76% compared to the previous year, making the country Iran’s 70th biggest trading partner.
As per the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration’s data, Iran exported 11,148 tons of commodities worth $12.62 million to Serbia last year, posting a 308.83% and 325.89% increase in tonnage and value respectively year-on-year.
The exports mainly included polystyrene, non-alloyed aluminum and basic mineral oil.
Serbia exported 1,951 tons of goods worth $11.74 million to Iran during the period under review, down 99.05% and 76.39% in tonnage and value respectively YOY.
Iran mainly imported pumps, corn seed, and heating and cooling package parts from Serbia last year.