SARAJEVO, January 13 (FENA) – Bilateral relations between BiH and Austria are good and friendly, without open issues, but there is room for enhancement of existing economic cooperation, it was concluded at today’s meeting of Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BiH Staša Košarac and Austrian Ambassador to BiH Ulrike Hartmann.
They discussed the political and economic situation in BiH and the possibilities of improving economic cooperation with Austria.
With regard to BiH’s progress on the European path, Minister Košarac said that EU integration is BiH’s foreign policy priority, while Ambassador Hartman stressed that Austria fully supports these aspirations of BiH.
The interlocutors stated that political stability and the rule of law are of great importance for businessmen and foreign investors, and Minister Košarac expressed confidence that the new convocation of the BiH Council of Ministers would focus its work on economy and finding solutions to most important issues, and would coordinate activities with other levels of government in BiH.
Minister Košarac emphasized the importance of foreign investments in BiH and said that their promotion will be one of the priorities of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BiH in this mandate. Particular attention was paid to the issue of harmonization of legislation of both entities, in order to facilitate the business of foreign investors. In this context, they also discussed the need to create a single economic market in BiH.
The Minister also stressed the need to encourage the development of the private sector, and pointed out that the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BiH, through cooperation with the entity ministries, would work to protect domestic production while respecting BiH’s international treaties and obligations.
During the meeting, they also discussed cooperation in the field of agriculture, especially in the field of organic production, where Austria has a leading position.
Minister Košarac assessed that BiH would greatly benefit from the exchange of experience with Austria, primarily in the creation and implementation of legislation and standards in this area. Emphasis is also placed on cooperation in the field of wine-growing and wine production, since Austria is a member of the International Organization of Vine and Wine.
They also discussed the improvement of tourism potential in BiH, and Minister Košarac particularly addressed the possibility of developing rural tourism, which he said could be successful. He said that BiH has many advantages in this segment, and stressed the importance of sharing experiences and applying successful Austrian practices.
During the meeting, they also discussed the construction of a nuclear waste landfill at the site of Trgovska gora.
In this context, the Austrian Ambassador emphasized that she understands the concerns of BiH and supports the efforts to resolve this issue.
Minister Košarac said that he would treat the issue of Trgovska gora in his personal agenda as a priority and that he would do everything in accordance with constitutional and legal competences to reach a dialogue with Croatia as soon as possible, the BiH Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations stated.