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Serbia welcomes Chinese investment in agriculture

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-05-15 14:20

BELGRADE - Serbia welcomed potential Chinese investment in its agriculture as they would be most beneficial for both countries, said Danilo Golubovic, State Secretary in the Serbian Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday.

Since Serbia has free trade agreements with the European Union (EU), Russia and Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) countries, all Chinese food products could this way be placed on those markets in much larger extent, said the official.

"By opening their business here, Chinese agriculture and food production companies could enter markets with which we have free trade agreements, with less cost and in much larger extent, and in the same time gather investor subsidies offered by the Serbian Ministry of Agriculture," Golubovic told Xinhua.

The Serbian Ministry of Agriculture has set aside some 432 million euros ($561 million) as incentives for investment in agriculture for 2013, as it is regarded as one of the most promising industries in the future.

And although, according to law no foreigners are allowed to own agricultural land in Serbia, it is possible to purchase it by direct negotiations with the government.

Such was the case when in March 2013, the Serbian government signed contract with Al Dahra of the United Arab Emirates to invest some 300 million euros in buying eight farming companies totaling in 14,000 hectares of land.

"We would like to attract investors by offering them to lease State-owned land, on 20, or 30 years period depending on what kind of crop is grown and of total investments scope," said Golubovic.

He stressed that expected opening of the negotiation process of Serbia's accession to the EU and entering the WTO will mean that Serbia has become a part of properly regulated market, safe for investment.

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