Friday's imminent official visit of Serbian President Boris Tadić to Bulgaria should strengthen the economic relations between the two neighboring countries, stated the Serbian Chamber of Commerce.
In a release quoted by Serbian news website Press Online, the Serbian Chamber of Commerce praises the intensification of cooperation between Serbia and Bulgaria and calls for even more progress in the field.
The Serbian Chamber of Commerce analysis states that exchange between the two countries is presently done chiefly through trade, while long-term economic agreements and joint investment is practiced to a small degree at the present moment.
Apart from also calling for an intensification of trade, the release singles out as desirable priorities the improvement of transportation, the fight against organized crime and cooperation based on EU funds.
Large-scale possible joint projects between the two countries include a Serbian investment in new Bulgarian Belene NPP and the construction of a new road between Sofia and Niš.
The Serbian Chamber of Commerce adds to that interest in the construction of a gas pipeline between Serbian Dimitrovgrad and Bulgarian Dupnitsa, as well as the modernization of railroad links between the two neighors.
They also see promise for profitable cooperation in the fields of agriculture, tourism and engineering and construction industry.
Data show that trade between the two countries for the first five months of 2010 amount to USD 294 M, 60% up from the same period last year. The deficit of Serbia in the bilateral trade relations is growing, reports the Chamber.
The release quotes information from the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce that 239 companies with Serbian capital operate in Bulgaria. The only large investment from Serbia to Bulgaria is presently the purchase of a 85% stake in Bulgarian Piccadilly chain store by Serbian Delta for EUR 70 M.
According to the information, Serbian goods in Bulgaria have a 2% share of the market, with a 4% share of Bulgarian goods in Serbia, which the Chamber considers inadequate.
The analysis further remarks that some of the hindrances for trade between the two neighbors stem from lack of stability in ownership and policies local companies and insufficient knowledge of their possible partners across the border. It adds that Serbian and Bulgarian companies frequently have prefered to buy goods from across the globe instead of looking in the region.
Nevertheless, this situation is steadily changing for the better, stress the Serbian Chamber of Commerce.