In line with its mission to foster economic relations between Switzerland and Serbia, the Swiss-Serbian Chamber of Commerce organized a seminar entitled “Serbia as your new business destination”, which was held on April 02, 2015 in the “Chamber of Commerce of Geneva”, in Geneva, Switzerland.
“The Chamber of Commerce of Geneva” (CCIG), one of the oldest cantonal chambers of commerce in Switzerland, invited the business community of Geneva to learn more about Serbia as a potential business partner, and to obtain detailed information related to the Serbian business climate, tax system and its most promising industry sectors. The aim of this seminar, which gathered approx. 50 participants, was to raise awareness about the existing business opportunities on the Serbian market and to enable companies and entrepreneurs from Geneva to start expanding their operations towards Serbia.
Mrs. Alexandra Rys, Member of the CCIG’s Board, welcomed seminar participants and thanked to the Swiss-Serbian Chamber of Commerce for co-organizing this event. Then, guests were greeted by H.E. Ambassador of Switzerland to Serbia, Mr. Ruch, and H.E. Ambassador of Serbia to Switzerland, Mrs. Jankovic.
Mr. Ansgar Bornemann, SSCC’s President, held an opening speech, emphasizing that Serbia, as the biggest market and business center in the Western Balkans region, was undergoing important reforms that would determine its further development. Mr. Bornemann described the Serbian market as a challenging one, “but despite difficult economic situation, it is slowly, but constantly growing. What we are witnessing now is the determination of the Government to implement tough reforms, which has been recognized and supported by IMF that has approved three-year stand-by arrangement with Serbia. This is another positive sign sent to investors, that Serbia is making the right moves, necessary for achieving economic stability”.
Following Mr. Bornemann’s opening remarks, Ms. Grujovic, SSCC’s Executive director, presented the main economic characteristics of the Serbian market, as well as its promising sectors: agriculture, IT, energy, automobile and metal processing industry. Also, Ms. Grujovic stressed the importance of small and medium enterprises for the further development of long-term, sustainable, business relations between Switzerland and Serbia, and presented several examples of successful Serbian exporters of furniture, wood, metal and aluminum products to the Swiss market.
Seminar participants also had an opportunity to obtain fresh information about the Serbian current investment climate and the impact of the ongoing economic reforms, which were presented by Mrs. Babic, law office “Prica”, as well as about the Serbian tax system, described in detail by Mr. Loncarevic, “KPMG”.
Finally, private sector representatives presented their experience in Serbia. Namely, five Board members of the SSCC, addressed both opportunities and challenges of the Serbian market, and shared their own experience related to doing business in Serbia. Private-sector representatives included:
- Ansgar Bornemann, CEO of Nestlé Adriatic,
- Marinko Ukropina, Managing director SGS for Adriatic region,
- Xavier Davard, General manager Sicpa,
- Adrien Alkabes, General manager Monterosa, and
- Dragan Maksimovic, General manager SIKA.
On behalf of SSCC, Ms. Grujovic thanked Mr. Lorenzo Stoll, the general director of the “Swiss International Airlines” for the Suisse Romande, for coming to the seminar and preparing gifts for all participants. Also, SSCC was pleased to welcome one of its main Swiss institutional partners, “Global Enterprise Switzerland”, represented by Mr. Sylvain Jaccard, S-GE director for the Suisse Romande.
The seminar were followed by a cocktail, offered by SSCC, giving all seminar participants an opportunity to share experiences, exchange business ideas and develop new networks.
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