Serbia business environment views of foreign investors
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Serbia business environment: Views of Foreign Investors. Ana Firtel , FIC Executive Director Milica Stefanovic, FIC Food& Agriculture Committee President. DPA/ VBT Visit Belgrade, May 2012. Agenda. Introduction to FIC General impressions SWOT general business climate

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Serbia business environment: Views of Foreign Investors

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Serbia business environment:Views of Foreign Investors

Ana Firtel, FIC Executive Director

Milica Stefanovic, FIC Food& Agriculture Committee President

DPA/ VBT Visit

Belgrade, May 2012


  • Introduction to FIC

  • General impressions

  • SWOT general business climate

  • Introduction to Food& Agriculture Committee

  • SWOT food& agriculture sector

  • Conclusions


to FIC

  • business association of foreign companies operating in Serbia

  • gathers 130 companies which invested € 15,6 billion and employ 89,000 people in Serbia

  • main goal is to influence improvement of business climate by providing concrete reform proposals

  • serves as platform for joint advocacy, not individual lobbying

  • operates through working committees

General impressions

  • significant improvement of business conditions in the past 12 years

  • high level of accord with EU regulations

  • still

  • finalization of structural reforms

  • problems in implementation of modern legislation

  • notable red tape and bureaucracy



  • good geo-strategic positioning

  • accessible natural and human resources

  • country in transition with ongoing reforms

  • receptive Authorities


It takes 13 days to go through 7 steps to set up business in Serbia.

Minimum initial registered capital for LLC is less than €1, and the administrative cost is around €80.

Minimal initial capital for JSC is €260.



  • underdeveloped infrastructure

  • loose regulatory framework

  • relatively high administrative burden

  • corruption issue


More than 800 new laws were adopted in past 4 years. It is difficult is install proper public structures to enable implementation.

  • EU candidacy status

  • FTA network

  • potential for market growth

  • dialogue between authorities and foreign investors



  • Examples:

  • Serbia has vast FTA network which includes:

    • European Union, EFTA, USA

    • CEFTA

    • Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Turkey

  • Drafting of Company Law: best practice in public-private dialogue



  • macro-economic situation

  • sudden regulatory changes

  • inconsistent application of regulations


Government of Serbia adopted 70 laws and regulations in the last week of 2011, many without proper public consultations.

I.e., Government adopted the Decree fixing the margins for 5 categories of consumer products (meat, sunflower oil, sugar, flour and dairy products) up to 10% for all retailers for the period of 6 months as of 1 January 2012.


to Food&



  • forum for discussion on regulatory issues among representatives of member companies

  • main goal is to provide proposals and improve regulatory framework relating to the food and agriculture industry

  • key topics addressed: sanitary inspection; regulation on labeling of foodstuff; subsidies; registration of PPPS; quality standards in milk and juice production; reclassification and labeling of chemicals; livestock breeding


to Food&



  • gathers 32 companies: BASF, BAT South East Europe, Bayer, BPI, Carlsberg, Coca-Cola Company (Barlan S&M ), Coca-Cola HBC, Danube Foods, DuPont SRB, Japan Tobacco International, Kraft Foods, PepsiCo, Philip Morris, Rauch Serbia, Sladara Maltinex – Soufflet, Syngenta Agro.

  • Also: Alpha Bank, Bojovic Dasic Kojovic, Credit Agricole Srbija, Ecolab Hygiene, Eurobank EFG, Harrisons, Intesa Leasing, Jankovic, Popovic & Mitic, KBC Banka, Metro Cash & Carry, MMD- GLN, OTP banka, PricewaterhouseCoopers, ProCredit Bank, Schneider Electric, Tetra Pak Production



  • timely harmonization of structurally important areas with EU regulations

  • agriculture and food processing as economic activities with long lasting tradition


Serbia adopted the Law on Food Safety which is to the large extent EU compliant.



  • progressive law activity is not followed by adequate application:

  • lack of supportive by-laws

  • low administrative capacity


Outdated Rulebook on Labeling and Marking of Packaged Foodstuffs.



  • strategic decision of Authorities to ensure quality standards and quality assurance


Creating basis for setting up of National Reference Laboratories.



  • outdated and obsolete horizontal procedures


Pre-market sanitary inspection system, with high discretionary rights.


  • generally positive experiences of current foreign investors

  • make Serbia a good investment destination

  • with significant potential for market growth

Thank you

37/I Svetogorska St.11000 BelgradeSerbiatel: +381.11.303.5550fax: +381.11.303.5560



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