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Slovenian-Serbian Commission Seeks Ways to Boost Business

Belgrade, 14 May (STA) - The Slovenian-Serbian economic commission wrapped up a two-day meeting in Belgrade on Friday, concluding agreements to boost operations of Slovenian and Serbian companies and investment cooperation, the Slovenian Foreign Ministry said in a press release.

Participants agreed that Slovenia's Agency for Entrepreneurship and Foreign Investment (JAPTI) and the Serbian Investments and Export Promotion Agency will soon sign a memorandum to boost cooperation and investment activities of companies from both countries.

In the area of agriculture, the commission, which met only the second time after the maiden session in 2001, expressed interest in exchange of know-how and best practice in rural development and food safety.

The trial air route between the Slovenian coastal town of Portoroz and Belgrade was welcomed and a session of the bilateral commission for road transport, which last met in 2005, was announced for the summer.

In the area of energy, the commission exchanged information on several projects and the situation in the energy industry, with Slovenia showing particular interest in investing in energy projects in Serbia.

Slovenia will continue to support development of clusters and cooperation in car and wood processing industry.

Last year Serbia received EUR 1.4m of development aid from Slovenia.

Serbia was the tenth biggest trade partner of Slovenia, with trade standing at EUR 793.7m, which was 27.3% less than in 2008, according to the Statistics Office.

Exports to Serbia stood at EUR 532.6m (-24.8%), while imports from Serbia amounted to EUR 261.1m (-31.8%). The drops are attributed to the effects of the financial and economic crisis.

Slovenia is one of the biggest investors in Serbia. The total value of investments until the end of 2009 stood at EUR 1.72bn, while more than 1,500 Slovenian companies are registered on the Serbian market, according to the Foreign Ministry.

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