In January 2014 Serbia has officially started the EU membership negotiations. It is well proven as one of the leading investment locations in CEE with key strengths in highly capable human capital and customs free access to the 15% of the world market.
MOST IMPROVED BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Serbia was foreseen in 2008 to make the largest improvement in the business environment in the region of Eastern Europe between 2009 and 2013. It is an on-going process the country is set to pass a package of as many as 20 reform laws by mid-2014.
In 2011, Serbia was the leader in CEE in attracting FDI with €2.2 billion of inbound investments. According to EY*, Serbia was one of Europe’s favorite investment locations in CEE in 2012. Success continued and according to the Ernst & Young’s Attractiveness Survey report for 2012 and 2013* Serbia was one of the countries with the greatest capacity to attract large job-intensive projects, both in terms of number of projects and number of jobs created.
HOME OF THE LARGEST INVESTORS
Serbia was a home to the biggest Greenfield projects in South East Europe for three consecutive years (2004-2006), as awarded by the OECD. Nowadays, some of the biggest names across the board are successfully doing business in Serbia - FIAT, Microsoft, BOSCH, Siemens, Panasonic, Schneider Electric, NCR, STADA, Continental, Swarovski, Michelin, Telenor, and more than 500 companies from around the globe.
BELGRADE - CITY OF THE FUTURE
Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, was named the City of the Future for Southern Europe by fDi Magazine in 2007 based on its economic potential, cost effectiveness, human resources, IT and telecommunications, transport, quality of life, and FDI promotion. In the following years the success was continued by many regions and cities that were praised for their attractiveness for FDI. In 2014, Vojvodina took the fourth place in the overall Cost Effectiveness category and first place in the same category for mid-sized European regions. Zajecar and Vranje have also made it to the list of 10 micro cities for FDI strategy.
DUTY-FREE ACCESS TO A MARKET OF 1 BILLION CONSUMERS
Starting a business in Serbia provides for an opportunity for customs-free export to a market of 1 billion people. In addition to benefiting from free trade with EU, Serbia is the only country outside of the Commonwealth of Independent States that enjoys a free trade agreement with Russia and is an endorsee of FT agreements with Turkey, EFTA, Belarus and Kazakhstan. It is also a member of the regional FTA (CEFTA) with 29 million people and one of the biggest markets in the region.
SKILLED AND COMPETITIVE WORKERS
Serbia's labor force offers a unique combination of high quality, wide availability and cost effectiveness. It is one of Serbia's key assets for reaching a strong business performance.
Universities and colleges in Serbia produce around 47,000 graduates annually, one third of which comes from technical universities. A third also comes from business related studies. Technical education is particularly strong as high school students are among the best performers at world contests in natural sciences, while Serbian engineers are well-known for their expertise. In addition, Serbia boasts the highest English speaking proficiency in Eastern Europe. Management education has also been accelerated by the introduction of joint graduate and post-graduate courses organized by local universities and renowned Western business schools.