Serbia – full report

The Republic of Serbia, a true cultural melting pot, has always served as a bridge between East and West. Founded as a kingdom in 1217, Serbia has evolved to become a multiethnic, multicultural, independent democratic nation committed to strengthening its ties to the European and global community.
Serbia’s strategic location is one reason for its historic importance as a trade hub and its current attractiveness to foreign investors.

At the crossroads of pan-European transport corridors, Serbia borders some of the fastest-growing economies in Europe: Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Serbia offers duty-free access to a market of one billion consumers through its various free-trade agreements, including CEFTA.

Serbia is using its international ties from the past to reconnect to old friends. For decades Yugoslavia played a major role in the worldwide Non-aligned Movement, together with Egypt, India and several other influential countries in Africa, Asia and South America.

Finally, with a population of 9.3 million people, the Serbian domestic market is among the largest in the region and new retail outlets are opening almost daily to keep up with rising demand.

Along with its investment appeal, Serbia has many attractions for business and leisure travelers.
All year long, visitors can take part in local festivals of dance, theater, and music as well as enjoy Serbia’s unspoiled natural beauty and dynamic cities.

Tourists interested in good food make the right choice to visit Serbia. The country has a wide diversity of food and drink specialties. The best known Serbian liquor is undoubtedly the plumb brandy, or slivovica as it is called in the local language. But Serbia is also getting better and better in its wine production skills. Food products range from different kinds of cheese, meat and fish preparations, to the mouthwatering ajvar, a creamy red pepper and garlic relish. On the sweet side, nature is giving Serbia amazingly tasty raspberries, used in more than a few tempting desserts.

Lonely Planet guides name Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, one of the world’s best cities for nightlife. Wherever you go in Serbia, you will meet welcoming people, unique cultural venues, an array of local culinary treats, and exciting business opportunities.

As any visitor to Serbia will discover, new construction projects are underway all over the country. Serbia’s construction industry, in fact, accounts for almost 4% of the country’s GDP and employs around 11% of the Serbian workforce.

The investment opportunities in the Serbian construction and infrastructure sector are huge, and the impact of the financial crisis is smoothed by government stimuli.

With its temperate climate, over six million hectares of agricultural land with the lowest pesticide usage rates in Europe, and a long agricultural tradition, Serbia has developed a thriving, mainly privately operated agriculture sector. Agriculture accounts for around 12 % of the GDP and employs nearly one quarter of the total population.

Serbia’s main agricultural products include beef cattle and other livestock, fruit, wine and vegetables. But corn undoubtedly tops the list.

Animal breeding and the meat production and processing industry represent particularly strong investment options in Serbia today. To make the most of its potential, Serbia’s agriculture sector needs investment in modernization and innovation, including in new processing equipment and technologies.
One of the businesses in Serbia interested in such strategic partnerships is the meat processing company Agroziv.

The Irish owned company BPI is already active in Serbia for quite a few years. Amongst others, it is investing heavily in the agricultural sector.

As many foreign investors have already discovered, Serbia is ideally suited to serve as a manufacturing hub for duty-free exports to a market of one billion people throughout the region and beyond.

Serbia adopted a new long-term economic growth plan in 2010 that calls for quadrupling exports over ten years. Serbia offers relatively inexpensive and skilled labor, a generous package of incentives for foreign investments, and a business friendly tax regime with Europe’s second lowest corporate tax.

The Economist Intelligence Unit predicts that Serbia will make the most significant business-environment improvement in Eastern Europe between 2009 and 2013.

The owner of the high-tech company Vlatacom gives a few good reasons as to why investors should make a choice for Serbia.

Serbia, a key trade hub for the 21st century, is ready to welcome foreign investors to help it enhance its role as a thriving contributor to the European and global economy.

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