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Serbia is moving away from Russia. Experts have no illusions

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Despite the existence of a bilateral free trade agreement, Serbia and Russia have never used it to its full potential, and since the beginning of 2024, trade has been falling significantly, the weekly “Vreme” noted on Wednesday. Some analysts see this a sign of Belgrade's political distancing from Moscow.

Serbia recorded an increase in the value of imports from Russia in 2022, when it reached USD 3.1 billion, which can be explained by the conclusion of a new contract for the supply of Russian gas and the increase in the price of the raw material. In the following years, imports are recorded regular drops.

Serbia is moving away from Russia. It has found new markets

Economic experts emphasize that the weakening of trade between countries shows failure to use the opportunityprovided by free trade agreements and Serbia's gradual distancing from Russia.

Economist Sasha Dziogović recalled that apples used to occupy a significant place in exports to Russia, but these goods were redirected to other directions, which means that Serbia has found alternative sales markets“refuting the thesis of the dependence of this important export sector on Russia.”

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The expert explained that the fruit has begun to reach Great Britain, Portugal and Saudi Arabia, and the expected signing of a free trade agreement with Egypt will open up another market for Serbia's goods.

The arms sector dominates. What can Russia offer Serbia?

The agreement concluded with Russia was also used by foreign investorswho started opening their companies in Serbia, taking advantage of preferential export conditions to the Russian market – recalled economist Ivan Nikolić.

Among the ten largest exporters from Serbia to Russia in recent years, nine were foreign investors, eight of which came from the European Union.

The analyst also drew attention to the restrictions on imports from Russia. “These are definitely dominated by energy resources and arms sector goods“This raises the question of whether Russia really has nothing to offer Serbia except weapons, oil and gas?” Nikolić claims.

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