Serbia & Singapore Poised To Sign Free Trade Deals With Eurasian Economic Union

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serbiarapThe final procedures for the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) to ratify a free trade agreement with Serbia is due to be signed in October 2019, member of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission Veronika Nikishina said at the international conference “From Idea to Reality: 25th Anniversary of Nursultan Nazarbayev’s Eurasian Initiative.” currently being held in Nur-Sultan (previously Astana).

This year we ended negotiations with Serbia and are now launching the procedure for the signing of this agreement. We hope to sign it in October.” Nikishina said. She noted that “just a step separates” the EAEU from “the end of negotiations with Singapore on a free trade zone.” “If we evince patience and will aimed at achieving results – we also want to sign this agreement this year,” the member of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission explained.

Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia are the current member states of the union, with a combined GDP of US$2.2 trillion; US$ 3.1 trillion of industrial products; and US$877 billion worth trade with non-member countries – equal to 7.3 percent of world exports and 3.2 percent of world imports. China, Iran, Egypt and Vietnam have all agreed FTA with the EAEU with several countries waiting in the wings. A deal with Singapore would be a coup as the country remains a major gateway into the South-East Asian region of ASEAN and beyond, while it serves as a major regional financial and services hub.  It has a GDP of US$349 billion (US$61,766 per capita) and low tax rates of about 14%.

Serbia meanwhile is ethnically close to Russia and has traditionally close ties with Moscow. The country has a

service-based upper middle income economy with the tertiary sector accounting for 70% total GDP. Nominal GDP in 2019 is expected to amount to US$52.424 billion (US$7,526 per capita). The strongest sectors in the Serbian economy are energy, automotive, machinery, mining and agriculture, while primary industrial exports are automobiles, iron and steel, rubber, clothes, wheat, fruit and vegetables, nonferrous metals, electric appliances, metal products, weapons and ammunition. Trade plays a major role in Serbian economic output. The main trading partners are Germany, Italy, Russia, China, and neighboring Balkan countries.

“Russia’s role in developing trade in the Balkans is in the ascendency” says Chris Devonshire-Ellis of Dezan Shira & Associates “Serbia’s decision places it firmly to the East as opposed to the EU. It will be interesting to note how Serbia’s FTA with the EAEU sits alongside its recent MoU with China for Agriculture with its Belt & Road Initiative. The upcoming FTA with Singapore and the EAEU is likely to have a huge impact and project Russian businesses especially towards Asia. These are exciting times for the Russian economy in the East.”


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Russia Briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm advices, through its partner offices in Moscow and St.Petersburg, foreign businesses investing into Russia and also Russian businesses investing in Asia. The practice has an office in Singapore and can advise Russian clients interested in the local market and elsewhere in ASEAN and Asia. Please contact for assistance.

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