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DAILY SURVEY 07.09.2018.
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SERBIA - USA

VUCIC: U.S. PARTICIPATION IN INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS IN SERBIA CAN BE EXPECTED SOON

BELGRADE, 6 September 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Sept. 6 after the Serbian and U.S. governments penned a Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation in the area of infrastructure that the participation of U.S. companies in realizing large-scale infrastructure projects in Serbia could be expected "very soon." Vucic told a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross that the signing of the memorandum had opened the doors to much closer cooperation with U.S. companies in the future. "We can expect U.S. companies [to take part] in building the Morava corridor or Nis-Merdare-Pristina road very soon, we will discuss this. It is important that we improve our economic, political and overall relations with the U.S.," the Serbian president said. He said that trade with the U.S. in the first six months of the year had reached USD417 million, which, as he put it, was a 30 percent increase relative to the same period in 2017. "I told the U.S. secretary that for the third year in a row we have had a budget surplus, which very few European countries have, that we were second in Europe, barring Ireland, with 4.9 percent growth. I also told him that Serbia has the best trajectory of decreasing public debt in the region and beyond, and that we expect it to be below 48 percent of GDP in January, i.e. the lowest in the region," Vucic said. Vucic voiced his gratitude to the U.S. secretary of commerce for visiting Belgrade, saying that it was a great honor for Serbia.

SERBIA, U.S. SIGN MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING IN FIELD OF INFRASTRUCTURE

BELGRADE, 6 September 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic and U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Kyle Scott signed a memorandum of understanding and cooperation in the field of infrastructure, in the presence of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, on Sept. 6. Mihajlovic and Ross concurred that the memorandum of understanding in the field of infrastructure between Serbia and the U.S. provided an excellent opportunity for a greater engagement of U.S. construction and all other companies in Serbia, stated the Ministry of Infrastructure, Construction and Transportation. "I expect the arrival of even more U.S. companies to bring about an improvement of the overall business environment in Serbia, the arrival of new technologies and knowledge, so that we increase the efficiency of our investments in infrastructure. For me, this is the most significant thing in this memorandum," Mihajlovic said. Ross welcomed the implemented economic measures and the results Serbia had accomplished in the previous period, saying that he believed Serbia was a good place for investments, the statement reads. This agreement between Serbia and the U.S. is important for infrastructure, but it has great symbolic meaning for securing even better relations between Serbia and the U.S., Ross stated. During the meeting with Ross, Mihajlovic stressed the government's good cooperation with companies from the U.S., which employ more than 16,000 people in Serbia, while the American Chamber of Commerce in Serbia (AmCham), which rallies more than 200 companies, employs around 100,000 people. "And that is why it is important to have more companies from America," Mihajlovic said. She presented Ross with a gift of a gold-embroidered stylized letter "R", handcrafted by women from villages in Serbia. Mihajlovic gives these as gifts to foreign officials within the initiative called Employing 1,000 Women in Rural Areas, which the Coordinating Body for Gender Equality is realizing in cooperation with the Ethno-Network and the National Alliance for Local Economic Development (NALED).

ROSS: U.S. COMPANIES IN SERBIA SHOULD HELP ON EU PATH

BELGRADE, 6 September 2018 (Beta) - U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross stated in Belgrade on Sept. 6 that he wanted U.S. companies in Serbia to help the country on its path to the EU. At a joint news conference with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Ross said he welcomed the signing of the memorandum of understanding in infrastructure on Sept. 6, adding that it would deepen the ties between the two nations. Some of the most successful and most recognizable tech companies are already active here. We want to make sure that they are your partners in growth and development and that their presence here can help support your membership in the EU, Ross said. The U.S. senior official said Serbia had an important strategic location in global trade, since it was at the crossroads between Asia and Europe. Considering the established connections and the possibilities for mutual economic growth, we are looking forward to further cooperation with the Serbian government, Ross said. American companies are leaders in the fields of innovations, creativity, digital technology and transparency in contracting and financing, Ross said, adding that they offered the best value because they provided the most advanced technologies. Ross said that huge technical talent existed in Serbia, recalling that the most innovative electric vehicle producer in the world was named after scientist Nikola Tesla.

SERBIA

BRNABIC AND KEEFE DISCUSS DIALOGUE WITH PRISTINA, E-GOVERNANCE, MEDIA STRATEGY

BELGRADE, 6 September 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said at her Sept. 6 meeting with the British ambassador to Belgrade, Denis Keefe, that the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue had to result in a compromise and that a frozen conflict was not a good solution, the office of the prime minister has stated. "Pristina must observe the Brussels Agreement and fulfill all the obligations assumed from that document," Brnabic said. She thanked Keefe for the assets invested by the British government's Good Governance Fund, which is the biggest bilateral donor in the field of E-governance in Serbia, and stressed the significance of the recently initiated joint project Digital Transformation in Serbia, which will be carried out by the United Nations' Development Program (UNDP). Regarding the media strategy, Brnabic said that there was an ongoing dialogue with the media associations and voiced thanks for all the support in that process, from the EU Delegation to Serbia, the Embassy of Norway, the OSCE, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and other important partners. She added that the Serbian government remained open for permanent dialogue with media representatives and that she hoped "work on the media strategy will be completed by the end of this year."

CUCIC: 4,114 MIGRANTS IN SERBIA, AUTHORITIES SAY READY FOR WINTER

BELGRADE, 6 September 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Commissioner for Refugees and Migration Vladimir Cucic said on Sept. 6 that there were 4,114 migrants in Serbia and that the government was absolutely read for the upcoming winter during which it expected a certain number of migrants to return from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Cucic told BETA that there were 3,386 migrants accommodated in centers and 359 outside these centers, while 336 migrants were in transit in different parts of the country. "This is the same number of migrants that we had in August last year. In March, April and May the amplitude went down, and so the number was below 3,000. Now, with a little over 4,000 migrants, the amplitude is up," Cucic said, adding that the situation was being closely monitored. The commissioner said that during the upcoming winter season a certain number of migrants who were staying in Bosnia and Herzegovina would return to Serbia. "It will not be anything scary. We are absolutely ready for the upcoming winter, if it is within the parameters of past winters, and all indicators seem to point to this," Cucic said.

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