In 2019, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH) exports amounted to 11.8 billion convertible mark (6.5 billion U.S. dollars), down 3 percent year-on-year, while the country’s imports were worth 19.9 billion KM, 1.5 percent more than in 2018, the BiH Foreign Trade Chamber said here on Tuesday.
“The increase in the trade deficit was mainly caused by the loss of the Kosovo market and the bankruptcy of the aluminum factory in Mostar,” said the Chamber’s Director, Vjekoslav Vukovic.
The aluminum smelter in Mostar, the third largest city in BiH, exported over 350 million KM worth of products annually but in July 2019 it went bankrupt due to unpaid bills to power utility Elektroprivreda HZHB.
The country’s main trading partners are the European Union (EU) member states and the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) members, accounting for 83 percent of all trade.
They are followed by Turkey, the United States and China. BiH mostly imports cars, food products and medicines and exports electricity, wood, car seats and textiles.
The bulk of BiH’s imports comes from China. In 2019, the country imported over 540 million KM worth of goods from China (a year-on-year increase of nearly 15 percent), while its exports to the Asian country totaled 30 million KM, according to BiH figures, Xinhua reports.
Exports from Bosnia and Herzegovina in the first 11 months of last year (January-November) amounted to 10 billion and 630 million BAM, which is 3.1 percent less than in the same period last year, while imports amounted to 17 billion and 898 million BAM, which is is up 0.8 percent.
The BiH Agency for Statistics announced that the coverage of imports by exports was 59.4 percent, while the foreign trade deficit amounted to 7 billion and 268 million BAM.
Exports to CEFTA countries amounted to one billion and 724 million BAM, which is three percent less than in the same period last year, while imports amounted to two billion and 207 million BAM, which is more by 3.3 percent. The export-import ratio with CEFTA members was 78.1 percent.
Exports to EU countries amounted to 7 billion and 808 million BAM, which is 3.3 percent less than in the same period last year, while imports amounted to 11 billion and 114 million BAM, which is 3.8 percent more. The share of imports with exports from the EU was 70.3 percent.
Exports of ammunition and weapons from Bosnia-Herzegovina last year amounted to 212.93 million BAM, which is about four percent more than in 2018, was explained to Srna news agency by the director of the BiH Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ognjenka Lalovic.
According to Lalovic, most exported to Saudi Arabia – 33.89 percent, Egypt 27.10 percent, Afghanistan 5.73 percent, Turkey 4.54 percent, and Morocco 3.95 percent and the United Arab Emirates 3.04 percent.
Lalovic said that ammunition for military weapons, revolvers and pistols are the most exported, accounting for 90 percent of the export program, while the remaining 10 percent relates to parts for revolvers and pistols and artillery weapons.
“Exports are carried by less than ten companies, which makes these results exceptional. The fact that BiH’s dedicated industry products are marketed in almost 50 countries and on all continents indicates that this industry is highly export-oriented and that every market is important and interesting, “Lalovic noted.
She emphasized that in addition to the increased demand in the world market, the good results were also contributed by the improved business conditions in the domestic market, through the good cooperation of the competent institutions with the economy. According to her, serious modernization and development of BiH’s dedicated industry require investments in research and development, as well as technically equipped staff.
“Without serious investment in scientific research projects, no one, especially this technologically demanding area, can be made a carrier of economic development, regardless of its potential,” concluded Lalovic.