Exporting guide to Serbia

Overview

Serbia is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, with a population close to 7 million people.

The EU and aid funded business

Serbia is in accession negotiations with the EU. The Stabilisation and Association Agreement is currently enabling free trade between Serbia and the EU over a transitional period. This is a precursor for the eventual elimination of duties and non-tariff restrictions on accession. Serbia will have received €1.539 billion in financial assistance from the EU by the end of 2020 (European Commission).

Trade Agreement

The UK signed a trade agreement with Serbia, which has been in effect since 20 May 2021.

It covers trade in goods and services, including provisions on preferential tariffs, tariff rate quotas and rules of origin.

Construction in Belgrade, Serbia

Serbia: at a glance

Economic growth

-0.9%

Actual figure (IMF, 2020)
The UK is -9.3% (IMF, 2020, actual figure)

GDP per capita

$7,700

Actual figure (IMF, 2020)
The UK is $41,127 (IMF, 2020, projected figure)

Currency

Serbian dinar

Business language

Serbian, English

English widely used as a business language

Time zone

GMT +1

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Opportunities for exporters

Serbia’s economy is dominated by a large and growing services sector (61% of GDP), but the industrial sector (31%) and agriculture (8%) are significant. It has close to 100 UK firms active and many more represented through agents and distributors.

Check for trade barriers

Trade barriers, such as tariffs or taxes, can raise costs, cause delays, or even stop you from exporting. Check for any issues that may impact your business when exporting.

See current trade barriers

See resolved trade barriers

Check duties and customs

Find information on how to export goods from the UK. View the duties, rules, restrictions, and the documents you need for your products.

See current duties and customs procedures

Doing business in Serbia

Preparing to export

VAT

According to the VAT Act in Serbia, foreigners wanting to set up a company in Serbia must align with its tax requirements and register for VAT with its financial authorities. The standard VAT rate is 20%.

Import duties

Product labels must be written in Serbian. Technically complicated goods must have instructions for use, the manufacturer's specifications, a list of authorised maintenance centres and guarantee information, including its duration.

Regulations

Serbia’s import-export transactions are documented in a generally standardised format, and the country is working its way towards regulatory harmonisation with the European Union.

Serbia has officially lifted barriers to imports and exports. Some taxes are still applied. There are some non-tariff barriers in the form of import quotas to protect some items, such as certain types of agricultural produce.

Operating in Serbia

Intellectual property

Intellectual property (IP) rights are territorial and rights granted in the UK do not provide protection elsewhere. You should consider getting IP protection abroad if you want to trade overseas or sell to overseas customers via the internet.

The Intellectual Property Office provides practical information to help you protect, manage and enforce your IP abroad. Further support for British businesses can be found through a network of IP attachés, based in key UK export markets.

Payment terms

Serbian law states that the payment term in agreements between businesses must not exceed 60 days. For payment in instalments, the term may be up to 90 days.

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.