European Union candidate Serbia will not offer subsidies to exporters seeking to enter the Russian market to fill a void created by a Kremlin ban on food imports from the bloc, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on Friday.
The decision comes after the EU called on candidate countries to refrain from exploiting trade opportunities arising from mutual sanctions between Russia and the West over the crisis in Ukraine.
European Commission spokesman Peter Stano welcomed “the attention the Serbian government pays to this issue and we appreciate the constructive approach.”
Vucic did not say whether to government would stop assisting exporters with finding clients in Russia.
Serbian farming businesses are trying to tap into the opportunity created by the Russian sanctions on the EU, which it hopes to join.
Agriculture Minister Snezana Bogdanovic was in Moscow this week to discuss trade, and the Serbian Chamber of Commerce hosted a meeting of local producers with Russia’s second-largest retail chain to discuss food exports.
Serbia – a traditional ally of Russia – began EU membership talks in January.
Vucic said joining the EU remains a strategic goal, adding that Serbia will also nurture good relations with Russia and will not join EU sanctions.