"Economic attache network" to be reduced
The network of economic attaches who were sent to 28 locations in the world three years "will be greatly reduced and possibly even terminated."Izvor: Tanjug, Večernje novosti
The daily Večernje Novosti noted in its report that the network was created to lobby for the Serbian economy.
The plan is to have the ministries of foreign affairs and trade and the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (PKS) work on attracting investments and promoting export once the mandate of the attaches expires, the newspaper said.
These institutions already have the necessary capacity to take on that work, and it is estimated that the attache network costs the country around EUR 3 million annually.
The government pulled out seven attaches in late June, from Hungary, Ukraine, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia.
"The activities of the economic advisers, PKS and our diplomats from the Foreign Ministry overlapped in many areas, while the results were not great. We will redefine the economic attache network in the coming months," Trade Minister Rasim Ljajić told Večernje Novosti.
He also said that talks with the PKS on a new model of representation for the Serbian economy were under way, because they already had offices in many of the cities where the attaches had been sent.
Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkić has set efforts to attract new investments as one of the top priorities for Serbian ambassadors, the daily said.
Belgrade Chamber of Commerce President Milan Janković said "a redefined system" of economic representation abroad would save a lot of money because the chamber already had ten offices abroad, and added:
"Companies and businesspeople who are already there and can lobby, especially in regional countries and in Asia and Africa, should be engaged."