Serbia, UK reach € 790m post-Brexit trade deal
The UK has signed another post-Brexit trade deal with an emerging European country: this time it’s Serbia.
A new trade agreement between Serbia and the UK will ensure the continuation of preferential trade between the two countries and aims to secure significant savings for businesses to support employment and the economy in general.
The deal, worth € 790 million, is the latest in a series of post-Brexit deals the UK has signed with third countries in emerging Europe.
It was signed in Belgrade on April 19 by Serbian Minister of Commerce Tatjana Matić and UK Ambassador to Serbia Sian MacLeod.
Since the Brexit transition period ended on December 31, complications have already arisen for Serbian and UK exporters. Now, says the Anglo-Serbian Chamber of Commerce (BSCC), these complications will be removed.
“The agreement is an important sign of the will of Serbia and Britain to strengthen and develop our economic relations,” the BSCC said in a statement. “The Chamber will continue to encourage the two governments to build on the agreement in order to make the most of the potential for trade and investment between Britain and Serbia in all sectors.”
Once the agreement enters into force – probably within a few weeks – it will be the new legal basis for trade and cooperation between Serbia and the United Kingdom, replacing the Stabilization and Association Agreement that governed the trade between the two countries when the UK was still in the European Union.
“The signing of this agreement not only allows a return to usual trade flows, creates the conditions for the further growth of mutual trade in the interest of both countries, as well as new investments, but also strengthens the traditionally good relations between our countries, ”said Ms. Matić.
Good news for civil society
The new trade deal is good news for UK companies currently operating in Serbia, such as Jaguar Land Rover, Unilever, AstraZeneca, JCB and Rio Tinto.
The main UK exports to Serbia include scientific instruments, medicine and pharmacy, machinery and clothing.
“I look forward to seeing more British businesses thrive in Serbia and British expertise boosting Serbia’s economic development,” Ambassador MacLeod said.
She also noted the personal support of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Aleksandar Vučić.
“… The UK and Serbia have worked together to build a stronger, forward-looking relationship. Increasing trade and investment is an important part of this ambition. “
“This agreement is both an important demonstration of our shared commitment to the relationship and a practical way to facilitate smooth trade for the benefit of businesses and consumers in our two countries,” concluded Ms. MacLeod.
According to Foreign Minister Wendy Morton, the deal also has implications for Serbian civil society and the threat posed by climate change.
“This demonstrates the UK’s commitment to civil society across Serbia with the promotion of governance and rule of law reforms, while addressing the threat posed by climate change by building together a greener and more resilient future, ”she said.
Trade deals with third countries are seen by many as a crucial part of the UK’s post-Brexit economic strategy.
The UK has already signed such agreements with several countries in the Central and Eastern European region, including Georgia, Kosovo, Moldova, North Macedonia, Ukraine and Albania. Further trade agreements are expected with Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro.
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