Indians know of Tito and Yugoslavia, but they have never heard of Serbia as an investment destination, said President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (SCC) Zeljko Sertic.
Businessmen from India are interested in investing in many different fields in Serbia, primarily in the film, pharmaceutical, automotive and IT industry. This is the bottom line of the visit of Serbia's business delegation to India between January 24 and 30. This delegation led by SCC President Zeljko Sertic presented about EUR 7 billion worth of 100 potential investment projects in Serbia to Indian businessmen.
- We introduced them to the projects from a database we created together with the Serbian Economy Ministry - Zeljko Sertic said when asked by eKapija which projects they presented in India. Sertic pointed out that the database included selected projects of private and public companies, local self-governments, such as the construction of free zones, renovation of devastated facilities or the construction of new ones, and companies undergoing reorganization. Most of the projects proposed by ministries are focused on the energy sector, and Sertic especially pointed to the importance of the innovative sector which is strong in Serbia, but cannot develop adequately without a strong industry and investments.
Zoran Bojovic, international cooperation adviser to the SCC president, told a press conference in the Serbian Chamber of Commerce that the accent of the projects presented was on 154 companies in Serbia undergoing reorganization and seeking strategic partners.
- India is such a big country with a population of over 1.2 billion, and it also has so many large companies with an unexpected capacity that find all our industries interesting - he said.
As he noted, they were particularly interested in the automotive industry and even talked about possible opening of factories in Serbia for producing car parts. They also mentioned the possibility of assembling or producing tractors and investing in the irrigation and drainage sector and the movie industry. Of all our companies, the Mining Smelter Basin (RTB) Bor and Sartid attracted the greatest attention of Indian businessmen.
- We proposed them to have metal elements made at Sartid in Smederevo, cables in Jagodina, and seats in some other place - he specified.
- We spoke with the representatives of companies Mahindra and Tata and invited them to come to Kragujevac to talk with Fiat officials who are the best to introduce them to the benefits of investment and production in Serbia – said Bojovic.
He added that many corporations from India expressed interest in using the benefits offered by Serbia, especially the possibility of exporting goods to Russia free of duties.
- We expect several large delegations to come to Serbia in March or April, those from Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad in particular - Bojovic announced.
He stressed that the Serbian delegation talked with Indian IT experts who said they would be happy to come to Serbia to share their knowledge and experiences.
Indian Ambassador to Belgrade Narinder Chauhan stated that Serbia and India were friendly countries, adding that there was so much room for the improvement of their cooperation.
- India's IT sector registered USD 80 billion worth of exports last year - the ambassador said and reminded that a company from Bangalore was already implementing its investment in the Serbian town of Indjija, where an IT park was under construction, adding that the investment of India's Embassy Group would revolutionary strengthen the relations between the two countries.
According to the data provided by the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, the trade between Serbia and India is on a constant rise since 2006 with an increasing foreign trade deficit on Serbia's end.
In the first 11 months of 2013, the trade between Serbia and India totaled USD 196.1 million, USD 6.9 million of which was the value of Serbia's exports, while the value of goods imported from India was at USD 189.2 million.