A visitor checks out a display of mortar bombs at the pavilion of Bosnia
A visitor checks out a display of mortar bombs at the pavilion of Bosnia and Herzegovina during Idex on Wednesday. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of the smallest countries to take part in the International Defence Exhibition (Idex) 2019 in Abu Dhabi, is eyeing markets in the gulf region to boost exports of its defence products.

Currently, the former Yugoslavian republic exports ammunition worth €25 to 30 million to the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

“We want to increase that number in the coming years and cement our relationships with these countries in the defence sector. Our ammunition, which is mainly used in snipers, shot guns and high calibre rockets is price competitive and matches the standards of eastern bloc (Russia, Bulgaria, among others) and Nato countries,” said Enes Aliskovic, director of Bosnia and Herzegovina Export Promotion Agency.

He was speaking to Gulf News in an interview on the sidelines of Idex 2019 at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

Enes Aliskovic
Enes Aliskovic, Director of Bosnia and Herzegovina Export Promotion Agency Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Over all, international sales of defence products of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2018 amounted to €110 million.

“Defence industry in recent years is showing growth with production related to ammunition showing good results. On a yearly basis there is a growth of more than 10 per cent in terms of sales of defence industry.”

“Last year, in international markets, we achieved more than €110 million in sales. Our key markets are US, Gulf region and North Africa. The key buyer is Saudi Arabia and UAE and some smaller quantity going to other Gulf countries. Saudi Arabia and the UAE account for 22 per cent of the total exports.”

Bosnia and Herzegovina became independent in 1992 and since then the country has been trying to boost its defence industry and establish new plants. The country has 25 to 30 productions plants with majority of them being in the private sector.

“Most of our industry is quite old and many of those plants existed during the period of former Yugoslavia. We are just revitalising those plants and also introducing some new plants to integrate and use new technology to boost production.”

The country also exports food as well as metal products to the UAE.