The Future of Trade Conference

The stability of a country’s economy depends on the quality of supply chains

On April 18th, in Belgrade, in front of a full hall on the premises of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, the Future of Trade conference was held, which was organized by the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Color Media Communications under the auspices of the Ministry of Domestic and Foreign Trade in the Government of the Republic of Serbia.

Milun Trivunac, the advisor to the president of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce as the host of the conference, greeted those present at the beginning with the words that the Chamber of Commerce is always there to be a link between traders, manufacturers, and suppliers to share data and initiatives aimed at consumers.

On an annual basis, the Serbian Chamber of Commerce undertakes a large number of activities to promote the improvement of trade in Serbia, turning to a healthier diet while educating consumers about the products that accompany it, turning to sustainable business models and a greater degree of recycling in the supply chain.

The conference was opened by Tomislav Momirović, Minister of Domestic and Foreign Tradein the Government of the Republic of Serbia, saying that today, during global challenges, we see more than ever how important leadership is, both in the whole society and in trade. Global crises in the last few years have shown us how much the stability of a country’s economy depends on the quality of supply chains in the internal market. Through the joint coordination of the Government of Serbia, traders, and manufacturers, we ensured supply stability, and the global crisis did not stop either investments or modernization projects in Serbian retail.

The Serbian Chamber of Commerce undertakes a large number of activities to promote the improvement of trade in Serbia

Minister Momirović pointed out that three topics will define the retail industry in the future, namely the use of Big data, and how to live healthier and sustainable businesses. “Through the process of digitization, more and more retailers are using customer data groups, artificial intelligence, and machine learning at the retail level to increase revenue and consumer satisfaction. To use artificial intelligence in the right way, retailers and manufacturers should continue to share data and work together on initiatives aimed at consumers, and the Ministry of Trade will always be there as a support,” added Minister Momirović.

The audience was addressed by H.E. Pierre Cochard, Ambassador of France to the Republic of Serbia, who emphasized that the trade sector is extremely important for France, and as in Serbia, they are turning to new trends that are increasingly in focus, such as the purchase of organic products of local origin. Then, there is the increasingly important issue of sustainable development and the improvement of e-commerce business conditions, which is becoming more and more important because, in addition to large companies that are just turning to it, new companies are now opening that sell products only via the Internet.

The opening was followed by a panel discussion “Trade as the backbone of further economic development – What is the future of trade in Serbia?” which was attended by Žarko Malinović, assistant minister, Ministry of Internal and Foreign Trade, Slobodan Aćimović, professor at the University of Belgrade – Faculty of Economics and Business, Nikola Cvijanović, Univerexport CEO, Jelena Pavlović, vice president and member of the Executive Board of Delhaize Srbija, and Violeta Kovačević, Mercator-S CEO. The moderator was Irina Vukotić, Prva TV.

Žarko Malinović, Assistant Minister, Ministry of Domestic and Foreign Trade, stated that trade in Serbia has acquired a completely different dynamic in the last year. As the greatest victory of the ministry, we see the fact that we have become an important partner of the economy and that together with companies we are improving trade in Serbia and giving end consumers greater value, due to which trade becomes the true backbone of the further economic development of Serbia.

At the end of the conference, Dr Snežana Miletić, a professor at the Faculty of Economics at the University of Belgrade, gave a presentation on the topic “Analysis of the socio-economic impact of the largest retail chains on the trade sector and the entire economy of the Republic of Serbia”, where she pointed out that the profitability of retail companies is growing slowly but definitely. In the coming period, further improvement in business conditions is expected.

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