The total amount of investments made by France in Serbia in last ten years exceeds USD 540 million and they have enabled the employment of 7,000 workers, while the Serbian export is constantly growing, said President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (SCC) Milos Bugarin.
He said at a session of the SCC Division for France that that country had placed about USD 540 million worth of direct investments in Serbia in the period 2000-2010, thus entering the group of the largest investors in our country.
- Serbia should keep working on attracting direct investments of the French companies - Bugarin assessed and added that the successful examples of privatization of Beocinska Cementara (Beocin Cement Factory), in which Lafarge invested USD 102 million, and Michelin's USD 170 million investment in Tigar Tires may help the country in that process.
Ambassador of France to Serbia Francois Xavier Deniau said that the French companies were interested in investing in Serbia, especially in the field of organic agriculture.
- It is good for the relations between Serbia and France that both are agricultural countries - he stressed, adding that France ranked second in the export of agricultural products in the world.
On the other hand, Ambassador Deniau reminded that France had a lot of experience in the field of public-private partnership and that it could share it with Serbia.
- Out of 10,000 kilometers of highways in France, as much as 8,000 are built through public-private partnership projects. The state did not even spend a cent on most of these projects. We have a huge experience in this field and it would be our pleasure to share it with the Serbian partners.
The trade relations between the two countries follow a positive trend. The exchange in 2008 exceeded USD 1 billion and, after dropping in value during the global economic crisis, the trade again registers a rapid growth this year. During the first four months of 2011, exports and imports grew by about 15.4 percent and 10.4 percent, respectively, against the same period last year.
As SCC Vice President stressed, the goods exported from Serbia to France do not have a high added value and, in order to increase the export, Serbia will have to adopt the production to a highly developed market of France and offer products from the agricultural-food industry, organic food in particular.
- The demand for organic food in France is growing larger every year, by about 20 percent, while as much as 85 percent of the French consumers consume organic food. This big market with over 60m people is a potential market for the Serbian agricultural products - Bugarin concluded.
Former President of the SCC Division for France Vojislav Stevanovic from Simpo has been again appointed to that position, while the new deputy president is Svetozar Sijacic, member of the Executive Board of Credit Agricole Group, in charge of retail and SME services.