BELGRADE, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- Turkey expects more economic cooperation with Serbia as a result of a free trade agreement and excellent bilateral ties, according to visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday.
After a meeting with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic, Erdogan, who arrived here for a two-day official visit, expressed satisfaction with bilateral ties and level of economic cooperation. He also said the two presidents set milestones for future bilateral ties, especially when it comes to trade.
At the meeting, the two presidents agreed to boost annual trade exchange between the two countries to 2 billion U.S. dollars in the short term, and 5 billion U.S. dollars in the long term, according to a statement released by the Serbian presidency.
Erdogan reminded that the new free-trade agreement, signed in January this year, has been in effect in June, and will prove vital for the fulfillment of these aims.
Previously, at the session of the high council for cooperation of Serbia and Turkey presided by Vucic and Erdogan, representatives of the government and institutions of Serbia and Turkey signed nine bilateral treaties, among which are agreements on cooperation in areas of security, industry and technology, and the framework agreement on defense.
According to Erdogan, the agreements "strengthened the contractual basis of our relations, which shows the excellent level of cooperation".
Erdogan also mentioned significant investments of Turkish companies in Serbia, saying that his visit will result in opening of six new factories.
According to him, the new Belgrade-Sarajevo highway to be built by Turkish company will become a "bridge of peace" in the region.
Vucic said that peace in the Balkans is the most joint political goal of Turkey and Serbia, which also enables economic growth and cooperation.
He said trade between the two countries summed up to 1.1 billion euros (1.21 billion U.S. dollars) in 2018, while for the first eight months of 2019 it has increased by 13 percent.