China-Serbia Signed Free Trade Agreement
China and Serbia officially signed a free trade agreement (FTA) aimed at enhancing bilateral trade and business relations, as announced by the Ministry of Commerce.
This FTA marks the 22nd such agreement for China and is a historic milestone as the first FTA with a central or eastern European nation, making Serbia China's 29th global free trade partner.
The ministry emphasized that the signing of the FTA is a critical step in translating the agreements made by the leaders of both countries into action. Furthermore, it is a significant achievement resulting from the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
The FTA negotiations were initiated in April and were substantially concluded in September.
The Ministry stated that the FTA will enable China and Serbia to establish a high-standard mutual opening of their markets, creating a new institutional framework for economic and trade cooperation. This will provide a more favorable, convenient, transparent, and stable business environment for companies from both nations, contributing fresh momentum to the advancement of high-quality cooperation within the Belt and Road Initiative and the deepening of the China-Serbia comprehensive strategic partnership.
Bilateral trade between China and Serbia reached USD 2.1 billion in the first half of 2023, up 14.8 per cent year-on-year. Previously a double tax treaty between China and Serbia was signed on March 21, 1997 and effective from January 1, 1998.
With the FTA now signed, both parties will undertake the necessary domestic procedures to facilitate its prompt implementation.