Albanian-Serb Commerce Chamber, a Success Story
Albanian Daily News
Published November 27, 2017
"There is a common political ground on the development of the economic cooperation between Serbia and Albania," has said the Minister of Economy of Serbia, Goran Knezevic.
Mr. Knezevic made that remark in a speech during the meeting of the General Assembly of the Albania-Serbia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which was held on Saturday in Tirana marking the first anniversary of its creation.
"Serbia and Albania have had a significant growth of the bilateral trade volume which amounted to 118. 6 million euros during the first nine months of this year, marking a significant growth as compared with the same period last year," he told the Assembly, which numbers more than 100 Serb and Albanian companies whose representatives attended the meeting at the Plaza Hotel. Further on, he said that other new steps were expected in the future highlighting the importance of the construction of Nis-Merdare-Durres highway, which, according to him, would serve not only Serbia and Albania but the entire region. Further on the Minister dwelt on the achievements of Serbia's economy and the success of the reforms being carried out in that country.
In the meantime, Mr. Knezevic said that the future of the two countries is the European Union and the bilateral relations should be strengthened even in that spirit resolving the political-economic challenges through dialogue eyeing the common future.
"Europe sees this region as an entirety and given this, it is the common interest to cooperate for the resolution of the political and economic challenges through dialogue and cooperation. It is necessary to deepen the relations on the basis of the common interests and goals for our future in the European Union," he said. According to his assessment, the two countries had many challenges to cope with but the focus should be the building of a better future for the citizens of both countries. "We should look forward to the future for further bolstering the bilateral relations," he said, wishing successes to the deliberations of the Assembly.
Such a wish was also conveyed to the Assembly by the Albanian Minister of State for Entrepreneurs, Sonila Qato in her speech to the Assembly. Ms. Qato was pleased for the increasing trend in the overall relations between Albania and Serbia, underlining that such a spirit was expressed in the growing trade relations.
"The bilateral trade has had a sustainable development amounting to 118,6 million euros during the January - September period of this year," she said, considering it as a meaningful increase as compared with the same period of a year ago. She laid special stress on the importance of the presence of Serb companies in Albania.
"The participation of 42 Serb companies in the Tirana International Fair is a clear example of the increasing interest of Serb companies in Albania," Minister Qato said.
In addition she pledged to be an advocate of the domestic and foreign entrepreneurs in Albania. "I invite you to knock at my Office whenever it is necessary for demands, suggestions, discussions or any other issues which you see necessary for the growth of the mutual cooperation among the entrepreneurs of both countries," said Minister Qato.
The President of Albania-Serbia Chamber of Commerce and Industry Isuf Ferra promised in his remarks at the deliberations of the Assembly that the Chamber would create all the possible facilitations to promote the trade exchanges among the companies of Albania and Serbia, serving as a linking bridge for the growth of the bilateral investments. He appreciated highly the common effort of Albanian Premier Edi Rama and his former Serb counterpart Aleksandar Vucic, who is now President of Serbia, to set up the joint Albanian and Serbian commerce chamber.
However he said that much was needed to be done to improve the efficiency of the trade exchanges between the two countries. He mentioned as problems, among others, the elimination of long stays at customs checkpoints which cause high costs for the businesses. "Being led by this fact, we are working and getting more engaged in talks with state bodies to facilitate the procedures making possible the minimization of these costs," he said.
In the meantime Mr. Ferra considered as a snag the failure to exploit efficiently the Durres seaport. "We will further work so that this seaport on the Adriatic Sea combined with the efficient transport corridor, Nation's Road and the railway, be transformed into a very valuable entrance and exist gateway of both countries," said Albania's Ferra.
In his address to the Assembly the President of the Serb Chamber of Trade and Industry, Marko Cades told the participants that there were suspicions when the joint Albanian-Serbian Chamber was established in the Nis forum last year. "But the reality shows that they were wrong," said Mr. Cades one of the main actors to make a reality such an initiative. He mentioned as facts of the 'success story' the growth of trade exchanges between the two countries during the first nine months of this year, the establishment of joint Serb-Albania companies, the very fact that 42 Serb companies participated in the Tirana International Fair. "Bilateral trade and joint companies between the two countries are the two main elements showing the successful performance of the joint Chamber in one-year period since its creation a year ago," he said.
Nevertheless Mr. Cades, a seasoned expert in business, was not pleased with what had been achieved. "Being not pleased with the so far results, we should use all the potentials to get European funds as much as possible in the benefit of the economies of the two countries," he said, unveiling the ambition to work for the involvement of all the countries of the Western Balkans in such a drive. He was optimistic that the Serb and Albania entrepreneurs would be promoters for the development of the entire region.
At the end of the Assembly Mr. Ferra was re-elected as head of Albania-Serbia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, while Mr. Miroljub Aleksic was okayed as co-chairman of that Chamber.