September 25 – Republika Srpska Prime Minister Zeljka Cvijanovic said that the relations between Srpska and Russia are characterised by political understanding and economic cooperation.
“Russia consistently demonstrates an understanding of Republika Srpska’s Dayton position, as well as the importance of maintaining the Dayton arrangement in BiH. Russia is showing it by its position and approach to either the UN Security Council, the Peace Implementation Council, or in direct communication with BiH,” the Srpska prime minister told SRNA.
She pointed out that Russia is in favor of strengthening the internal dialogues and cooperation within BiH, as well as the abolition of international interventionism since it has proved counterproductive for the processes that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“The Government of Republika Srpska appreciates the position of Russia, which is based on understanding and partnership, and has never been burdened by political or any other conditionality. We are trying to strengthen our economic relations, which should be contributed by the visit of the delegation from St. Petersburg, organised and supported by the Republika Srpska Representative Office in Russia and the Chamber of Commerce of Republika Srpska,” said Cvijanovic.
Russia is, she says, an important foreign trading partner of Republika Srpska, and is in third place, just behind Serbia and Italy, when it comes to foreign exchange market.
“In the first six months of this year, foreign exchange with Russia makes 9.5 percent of the total foreign exchange market turnover. We are not satisfied with the level of exchange. We believe that there is much more room for its improvement because the foreign exchange market is certainly one of the priorities when it comes to our relations, which, among other things, we deal with in the course of today’s talks agenda in the Republika Srpska Government,” stated the Srpska prime minister.
When it comes to imports from Russia, Cvijanovic pointed out the import of crude oil, which makes approximately 90 percent of the total imports from Russia. As far as the exports to Russia, dominant is the export of fruits and vegetables, which makes approximately 80 percent of the total export to Russia.
“Our goal is, undoubtedly, an increase in exports of agricultural and food products. However, due to the fact that our Russian partners also expressed the need for other products, we drafted the visit programme accordingly.
Therefore, in addition to agricultural production and food industry, possibilities of a potential cooperation in domains of timber industry, footwear, leather and textiles, metal and electric industries as well as tourism are discussed during this visit in order to present such products at the Saint Petersburg’s market,“ explained Cvijanovic.
She says that for this reason, in addition to the talks held in several ministries within the Government of Republika Srpska, organised are the visits of business entities, so the members of the Russian delegation could immediately learn about their business operations, production programmes and offers.
When it comes to the investments, the Republika Srpska prime minister pointed out that Russia is the second largest foreign investor in Srpska, with total investments of about 530 million. Therewith if the period from 2005 to 2015 is taken into consideration, the biggest investment was in 2007, thanks to the privatisation of the oil industry in Srpska, which rehabilitated and revived a system that employs a large number of workers.
She stressed that the goal of the visit of Russian businessmen is not only identifying opportunities for exports of certain agricultural and industrial products, but also initiating specific investments and joint projects.
“During this visit the business conditions in Republika Srpska and treatment of foreign investors are also discussed, likewise the possibilities of improving air traffic, particularly the cargo traffic at the Banjaluka Airport “, said Cvijanovic.