Exporting guide to Serbia

Serbia is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, with a population close to 7 million people (IMF, 2019). It was the UK's 88th largest trading partner in the year up until June 2019 (ONS, 2019).

Demand for UK goods

Goods made up over 65% of all UK exports to Serbia in the year up until June 2019 (ONS, 2019). Top goods by value exported from the UK to Serbia were medicinal and pharmaceutical products, specialised machinery, electrical goods, consumer manufactures and scientific instruments (ONS, 2019).

Improving economic conditions

The import market in Serbia has seen healthy growth over the last 5 years, and this growth is projected to continue (IMF, 2019). GDP per capita is also rising, with a GDP growth of 4% predicted by the end of 2020 (IMF, 2019).

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).

Construction in Belgrade, Serbia

Ease of doing business

44th

out of 190 countries (World Bank, 2019)

Currency

Serbian dinar

Business language

Serbian, English

English widely used as a business language

GDP per capita

$8,174

(IMF, 2019)

Economic growth

4%

(IMF, 2019)

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. UK exports to Serbia amounted to £307 million in 2019 (ONS, 2020), with close to 100 UK firms active and many more represented through agents and distributors.

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.

Trade barriers

Check for any reported barriers to trading with Serbia.

Report any trade barriers that are affecting your business so we can help fix them.

Operating in Serbia

Intellectual property

The Intellectual Property Office of the Republic of Serbia regulates intellectual property rights.

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.