The conference entitled „How Can Serbia Increase Food Export?“ was held on 6th October 2012 at the Sava Centre, Belgrade, as a part of the Swiss-Serbian Trade Cooperation Program (TCP 2009-2012). The conference was organised by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs at the Swiss Ministry for Economic Affairs (SECO), Swiss Cooperation Office in the Republic of Serbia (IDEAS), Swiss Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI), REDD and SEEDEV consultancy.
The conference was opened by Rasim Ljajić, Minister of Foreign and Internal Trade and Telecommunications, while the opening address was given by Isabel Perich, Director of the Swiss Department for Cooperation in the Republic of Serbia (SDC), when she presented the aim and the content of the conference. Goran Ješić, Deputy Prime Minister of Vojvodina and the Secretary of Agriculture of the Government of AP Vojvodina, spoke about prospects of increasing export of agricultural products from Vojvodina, while Irenka Krone, Programme Manager at the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs at SECO, spoke about the Swiss-Serbian Trade Cooperation Programme (TCP), phase 3, and its effects and challenges.
After the opening addresses the following lectures were given:
- Export of Serbian food – development opportunities – Goran Živkov, SEEDEV;
- How does the WTO membership help increase export - Nicolas Imboden, IDEAS Director;
- The role of intellectual property rights in international trade - Olga Allemann, IPI Project Coordinator;
- Benefits of the protection of geographical indications in exports, Tet d’Moan cheese example – Oliver Isler, Chair of the Cheese Makers Association;
- How can voluntary standards affect the increase of export - Dominique Barjolle.
Goran Živkov highlighted that currently the export of Serbian agricultural products was worth 1.7 million Euros and that it was crucial to implement the following five strategic actions to increase the export of Serbian agricultural products:
1. STO membership and provision of EU export permits – this will contribute to better exploitation of export opportunities and consequently to an increase in exports;
2. implementation of standards and quality assurance - it is necessary to implement basic standards for food safety and registration of facilities to allow unrestricted exports. In addition to the basic standards it is necessary to implement voluntary ones as they are becoming increasingly important. Furthermore, geographical indications are important given that they increase the potential for the export of products having higher market value;
3. increase in the level of competitiveness – through orientation towards quality products and activities to foster competitiveness such as investment in new technology, innovation, and investment in knowledge;
4. improvement in the market chain and consolidation of the offer;
5. knowledge of export market and promotion of Serbian products.