Translate: Nadia Smesme
“Milan Vijatović, the Charge d’Affaires “.. When speaking about Serbia we don’t know how to start talking about this exceptional country, which has emerged from the rumble of war and register the best and comfortable live conditions for its citizens. The country that registered the biggest economy growth in Europe and witnessed a large attraction of external, economical, and international trade investments, where the big and small economical countries race to start huge investments in it.
Serbia is a different country than others, where there are spaces of beauty and entertainment in its cities. Belgrade the white city, Novi Sad and the other beautiful cities, stories of happiness and amazement on the sides of Sava, Danube, and memories that never end in its villages and mountains, where women and men are filled with strength and strong will, who work in the day and exchange stories of love and glory in the evening. In Tara, Kragujevac,Leskovac, Subotica, Kruševac, Zrenjanin and others.
In a friendly and a very informative chat to speak about this country, and on the occasion of the national day of Serbia on February 15th of every year, the Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy of Serbia Milan Vijatović said that Serbia is a project for the future, project for live, economy, investment, adventure, success and fun, a project for companies, businessmen, pioneers, specialized professionals and for those looking for creativity and appreciation, a project for everyone looking for an opportunity for success, income, investment activity and a fruitful life. In short, it’s a project for happiness where you won’t find it in any other place.
He added, during the last few years Serbia has shed itself from the ruble of war and took steps toward building a modern country, and the Serian economy has witnessed an increasing growth because of the local and foreign strong investments and an improvement of the work environment, and this reflected on the lives of people and received the appreciation of the local and foreign investorsalso from the international economic institutions.
Because of that Serbia today is one of the favorite investment locations by Europe and the world, and it was categorized as the first investment front worldwide on 2013 according to the annual report of the Global Site Trends of 2014.
Vijatović continues: a number of laws issued by the Serbian country has helped to achieve the most growing economy of 2020, including the adapting of labor laws, privatization, planning, building, taxes and investment which complies with the European Union regulations, in addition to the most competitive exchange rate of the national currency dinar, a comfortable level of financial reserves, a unique and liquid banking system.
He brings an example and says: it’s good to mention that the balance of direct foreign investment has reached over 21 billion euros since 2001, and the international companies including (Fiat, Bosch, Siemens, Microsoft, Continental, Telenor, NRC, and Benetton) has chosen Serbia as an investment front. During the year of 2014, Serbia registered more than 1.4 billion euros of direct foreign investment, and around 4 billion dollars in the Belgrade Waterfront Project. There are huge investment programs in the infrastructure under planning “Serbia 2025” with a value of 14 Billion euros.
Despite the Corona pandemic, Serbia has reached he best economic policy in Europe. And was able to become the most important economy on the list of the emerging European countries, in the center and south of Europe. in the year of 2020, its response against the development of the pandemic was the best, the government provided a monthly financial support to all citizens, workers, retired personnel, companies, work owners, factories, owners of transport buses and all private sector’s activities to help them overcome the negative side effects of the pandemic, as the Charge d’Affaires said.
He added, this is what makes Serbia a popular destination for companies, pioneers, businessmen, and the ones looking for an opportunity for success. 11 thousand foreigners have settled in it on 2019, and its economy can be described as a various economy that depends on industry, agriculture, tourism, investment and services. The industry sectors in Serbia have contributed with around a quarter of the total local production, especially the industry of mineral fertilizers.
The country invests heavily in the energy sector, machinery industry and mining, the energy sector is considered the biggest and most important sector in Serbia, and the country is considered a producer of pure electricity, it also has huge reserves of coal which makes it the second country in Europe and the fifth in the world. For more information kindly visit the government website in Serbia: https://www.srbija.gov.rs.
The Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy of Serbia continues his speech: Serbia excels in car industry.Exporting cars’ total net reaches up to 2 billion dollars, and the company “Country” is considered one of the biggest companies that produces steel in the southeast region of Europe.
Serbia witnesses a wide building movement and a huge real estate development,the most important project in Belgrade is the Waterfront with a cost of more than 4 billion dollars. The biggest cities in the country Belgrade, Novi Sad and Niš witness a big building and renovation movement. The renovation of the European land crossing between the Bulgarian and the Hungarian borders has resulted in increasing activities in this section.
The communication and technology industry has grown fast and its exportation reached more than 1.3 billion dollars in 2018, and many international technology companies has chosen Belgrade as a regional and European center like Asus, Intel, Dell, Huawei and NRC.
In agriculture, Vijatović sees the agricultural exports form more than a fifth of Serbia’s sales on the world market, and it is famous for various agricultural products, and considered as the biggest provider of frozen fruits to the EU, and the second biggest producer of peach in the world, second biggest producer of berries, and the biggest producer of yellow corn and wheat according to the Charge d’Affaires.
He adds, the most well-known agricultural and animal products aresunflower oil, beetroot, soybeans, potatoes, apples, pork, beef, chicken and dairy products.It’s one of the most important countries in organic products and a center for the food industry. There are many international commercial brands produced in Serbia like: PepsiCo, Nestlé, Coca Cola, Heineken and Carlsberg in the drinking industry, and Nordzucker in sugar industry.
On an international level it is considered on the biggest agricultural producer, and the agricultural exports reach 6 million tons of corn with a value of 1.3 billion dollars, 454 thousand tons of sunflower oil with a value of 166 million dollars, 757 thousand tons of soyabeans with a value of 145 million dollars, 2 million tons of sugar beet with a value of 94 million dollars. The annual revenue of agricultural production reaches about 6% of the local production, and in 2016 the agricultural and food products was exported with a value of 3.2 billion dollars.
The agricultural lands in Serbia are about 3 million hectares which is about 67% of the total space of Serbia. And the number of people that work in agriculture is one million and 100 thousand Serbian citizens, about 15% of the population.
The grape and wine industry, Serbia is number eleven in the world in producing grape, and it is number 19 in the world in producing wine. this country has the longest history in viticultureproduction in continental Europe,it has 21% of the agriculture land specialized for grape and viticulture which produces every year more than 200 thousand tons of high-quality grape.
Moving to the tourism industry, the Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in Damascus confirms that tourism industry contributes with a great percentage to the Gross Domestic Product, and about 75000 people work in this industry. The income of foreign currency in tourism in 2018 was about 1.5 billion dollars and 3.4 million tourists were registered in resident places, half of them were foreigners.
Tourism was focused on mountains and resorts which are visited by local and foreign tourists.Belgrade is also considered the favorite option to foreign tourists. The most famous resorts for tourism are Kopaonik, Stara, Planina and Zlatibor, and the health resorts Vrnjačka Banja, Sokobanja and Banja Koviljača. and to encourage the internal tourism Serbia has reduced taxes of the highway between 20% and 50%. For more information visit the following website: https://mtt.gov.rs/.
With the aim to develop its economy, Serbia maintained its strategic location in the center and south of Europe in all land roads, railways, air and land transport through a network of sea routes, roads and railways in Serbia. A direct way was provided to the main ports in the Adriatic Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea and even the North Sea, and that was because of the geographic location between the east and west borders. Where Serbia is considered an ideal point for trade and it’s located on a crossroad between two major European paths in southeastern Europe. (the railway path on roads X and the river path Rhine–Danube). This is why it’s considered a transit country taking control of the movement and transporting of goods, passengers from Asia to central Europe. It is the logistic center for central and south of Europe through developing multi-modal transport.
He adds that railways network in Serbia spreads about 40000 kilometers, and 56 million passengers travel on it annually. There are three international airports Nikola Tesla Airport, JSC, Aerodrom Niš and Morava, Kraljevo airport. For more information visit the website: https://pks.rs/PrivredaSrbije.aspx?id=15.
Vijatović the Charge d’Affaires continues: for the developing of the legislative infrastructure that supports economic development, digitization laws were issued with electronic trade works and electronic documentation, recording and establishing public database to make projects and local and foreign investments, and to establish local and foreign companies.
Serbia created the electronic government gate where the citizens have their own inbox to facilitate buying and selling procedures and pay fees and taxes.
The government of Serbia sees that the final most important idea for development is to invest in the Serbian human and to create the work force and human capital, that is why it provides all the help possible in this field, and to provide financial support to the beginners in business work to buy equipment, buying, building and adapt the production space and the permanent worker’s capital to strengthen the abilities and combativeness, and increase the outcome and expand businesses, finance programs from the budget of the Republic of Serbia and the development fund and commercial banks.
It also works on strengthening the cooperation between the economic institutions and international companies. It sees that the Serbian economic sectors are interesting to foreign investors, because Serbia is unique with its exceptional expertise of the work force, long-standing traditions, quality raw materials and export potential.
And here, Vijatović the Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia invites the Arab and foreign to invest in Serbia in real estate, tourism, services, car industry, technology and information, international business services, textile industry, food industry, wood and furniture, and metal and machinery industry.
He explains that Serbia presents many facilitations for investors like: reduce profit load up to 75%, a temporary exemption of the company’s profit taxes (according to the investment sizeand the number of jobs created), avoid doubled taxes, the possibility to import raw materials and intermediate products without customs, import machinery and equipment without customs, exemption from value-added tax in free zones, financial support for the investing projects in the production industry, external trade services and the hotel accommodation sector. Also advantages on the local level like (exemptions, reduce renting fees of the urban construction land and advantages for the land regulation fees for urban construction, and exemptions or reducing of other local taxes). For more information on the website: https://www.kombeg.org.rs/.
Today there are 15 free zones in the Republic of Serbia spread equally from north to south and from east to west: FZ Subotica, FZ Pirot, FZ Zrenjanin, FZ Novi Sad, FAS FZ Kragujevac, FZ Šabac, FZ Užice, FZ Svilajnac, FZ Smederevo, FZ Kruševac, FZ Apatin, FZ Vranje, FZ Priboj, FZ Beograd, FZ Šumadija.
According to Vijatović, the government of Serbia adapted a strategy to develop the /A.I/ Artificial Intelligencefrom 2020 to 2025, and it’s a part of a strategic plan for theDevelopment of comprehensive science in Serbia until 2030, and this strategy complies with “European Artificial Intelligence”.
Regarding the Serbian-Arabian relations, the Charge d’Affaires invited the Arabian companies and investors to invest in Serbia, he considered Serbia as a rewarding investment front for both sides. Belgrade Waterfront project is a successful evidence, and there are hundreds of successful Arabian investments in Serbia.
He pointed out that Serbian companies are ready to work in the Arabian environment, to establish commercial and economic companies with the community. As an example of that is the readiness of the Serbian companies to participate in the reconstruction of areas of the countries which were damaged due to war and terrorism like Syria and Iraq.