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Serbia - Defense Industry

Eight hundred new jobs will be available in Serbias defense industry this year and two helicopter repair centers will open in the next as the country builds up its military potential, according to Serbian Defense Minister Zoran Djordjevic, who was taking part in an international security conference now underway in Moscow. Interviewed by Sputnik Serbia 01 May 2017 on the sidelines on the MCIS-2017 conference, Zoran Djordjevic said that amid the current economic upswing the Serbian government had earmarked 45 million euros toward the implementation of a raft of defense projects.

He added that one of the two helicopter service and repair centers would deal with Russian helicopters, while the other would tend to Airbus rotorcraft. We want to become a regional service center for Airbus helicopters. The X-145 medium-range helicopter is very good and we are sure that it will be selling well both in Serbia and elsewhere in the Balkans, Djordjevic said.

With the Serbian government all set to make the defense industry a key economic sector, Sputnik asked the Minister whether Belgrade would be doing this alone or in cooperation with other countries, including Russia. Zoran Djordjevic said that Serbia wanted to go it alone and was unlikely to team up with anyone else just for the sake of it. He also underscored the importance of defense production for the army and the national economy as a whole.

Our parliament is now working in a draft law on the production and transportation of arms and ammunition which, if enacted, would allow foreign ownership of maximum 49 percent of Serbian property, the Minister said. There is a great deal of foreign interest in investing in Serbia. Well figure out where it would be best for us and our foreign partners to invest. This would facilitate defense production and make it cheaper too. In some cases we would be ready to engage in joint production and possibly to launch a number of joint ventures, he added.

When asked if Serbia has enough specialists available to implement these ambitious projects, Zoran Djordjevic said that this year they planned to create 800 new jobs in the defense sector and one of the two helicopter repair centers was slated to go online on January 1, 2018. We have helicopters and we have people who can fly them. Moreover there is a number of MiG-29s [fighter jets] we are going to get from Russia, so we need people to service them, Djordjevic noted.

Serbia's Defense Ministry and the government plan to make the defense industry a driving force in the country's industrial production and economic development, Serbian First Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Aleksandar Vucic said while opening Partner 2013, the sixth international exhibition of arms and military equipment, in Belgrade 25 June 2013.

It is important that Serbian brains and scientists become even more engaged and that we improve the management, as I am confident that we will not only be competitive in the world markets, but also have a competitive advantage, Vucic said. Vucic said that Serbia is proud that this year's edition of the fair will mark 160 years of the domestic defense industry. Vucic said that EUR 160 million will be invested in Serbia's defense industry in the next three years, adding that EUR 75 million will be invested this year only. Vucic said that Serbia will soon sign a contract with the European Defense Agency on the inclusion of its R & D and production capacity in the EU defense projects.

The International Defense Fair PARTNER 2013, held under the auspices of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Serbia, co-organization of the Yugoimport SDPR company and executive organization of Belgrade Fair, on June 2428 satisfied all organizers expectations. Serbian military industry had shown very successfully a high technological level of its products and many products were sold to international buyers already on the first day. The business visit on the first two event days was also for the organizer unexpectedly good, more than 3,300 visitors, which confirms the Belgrade Defense Fair became the highest quality exhibition in this part of Europe. This years PARTNER will remain remembered by the promotion of the new combat vehicle Lazar 2, Nora Howitzer, the turbulent Sparrow Hawk aircraft, and many other products necessary for the army, but also the attendance of the Russian Aircraft Corporation RAC MIG, which featured the model of the future new Serbian jet aircraft MIG29 M2. High standards of specific military products at the sixth PARTNER exhibition were shown by 92 manufacturing and trading companies, 16 of them the international ones.

Defense industry, in function of new technologies development under control of the security system, monitors and stimulates the development of new technologies from the civilian sector significant for the production of weapons and military equipment and is in possession of immense potential and vitality.

Defense industry of Serbia comprises companies producing and finalising weapons and military equipment, cooperative and service companies, scientific institutions, institutes and laboratories. The present corpus of the Defense industry consists of 11 specialised companies with approximately 11.000 employees. Furthermore, Defense industry includes 27 companies with individual, additional capacities for production in the field of metallurgy, metal processing, machine building, chemical industry, textile and leather and footwear industries, complementing the resources for production of weapons and military equipment.

The required capacities for production of weapons and military equipment, in accordance with the needs of the Serbian Armed Forces equipping, are defined within the Ministry of Defense and companies are not focused solely on complying with the domestic needs but also on exporting to world markets. A tendency of growth of exports is the result of a synergistic effect of restoring political relations with the traditional customer countries, but also the focus of the Serbian defense industry on offering high quality products. The presence of the defense industry in the world market encourages further economic development and world integrations through various forms of military, scientific, technical and economic cooperation, provide greater opportunity for product placement.

The existing "Defense industry of Serbia" group under the authority of the Ministry of Defense decidedly orientated on production in the Defense industry includes six companies with a tendency of expanding onto three more companies.

The Republic of Serbia, as a country enjoying the status of a respectable producer and exporter of conventional weapons and military equipment, has regulated its national control system for the export of arms, military equipment and dual-use goods in line with the rules and standards applied by the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the United Nations and other international documents.

The first national annual report on the implementation of foreign trade in controlled goods (for 2005 and 2006) was released at the end of 2007. According to the Annual Report for 2010, it issued a total of 500 licenses for the transfer of arms and military equipment. Of these, 348 were export licenses (757.88 million US$) and 152 import licenses (79.65 million US$). In the same period, the number of refused export licenses (due to lack of documentation) was 3 as opposed to 1 refused import license. As for dual-use goods, 86 licenses were issued in 2010 (79 for import and 7 for export).

All matters related to import/export licensing, transport, transit, possession and provision of services for foreign trade transfers, monitoring and control, prohibitions and penalties, as well as the powers to adopt by-laws, have been covered by the Law on the Foreign Trade in Arms, Military Equipment and Dual-Use Goods, which came into force on 31 March 2005. An essential quality and innovation of this Law is that it transferred from the military to civilian authorities the competences in this field.

Serbia is providing, on a regular basis and in time, all the information and replies to the questionnaires pertaining to arms export control, in line with the obligations towards the United Nations, OSCE and other relevant organizations.

Within the framework of export control, special attention is being devoted to the countries under the UN mandatory arms embargo in accordance with the relevant UNSC resolutions or politically binding OSCE and EU decisions relating to arms exports, or to countries sponsoring terrorism, posing a threat to peace, security and stability in the region, as well as to the countries having a poor record of human rights or those carrying out internal repressive measures. The relevant UNSC resolutions imposing an embargo on arms exports and the relevant OSCE decisions are fully complied with.

On 6 December 2006, the Republic of Serbia voted in favor of the UN General Assembly resolution 61/89 entitled "Towards an arms trade treaty: establishing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional weapons" (ATT). This initiative is considered to be very important and practicable. Its purpose is to ensure effective prevention of further arms trade irregularities and uncontrolled possession of weapons by structures over which the state can exercise no influence or control. In this context, Serbia has continued to actively participate in preparing these negotiations and has hosted a wider regional seminar, in cooperation with the European Union and the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), in April 2012.





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