New survey of the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce (AHK):

Conditions For Doing Business In Serbia

The results of a survey conducted by the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce (AHK) in Serbia during February show that ratings of the economic situation in Serbia for 2018 have improved compared to previous years

Half of the respondents rated the economic situation as satisfactory, while 12% even rated it as good. However, 38% of respondents saw no improvement and believe that the economic situation could worsen in Serbia compared to 2017.

It is important to emphasise that companies rate their own operations as being better than the general business climate. More than half of respondents rated their own operations as good, 40% satisfactory, and only 8% said that their business results were insufficient. Business forecasts for the current year also contained more optimistic views than during the period two years ago, so 56% of respondents expect improvement, 37% expect an unchanged business situation, while 6% fear its deterioration.

When it comes to the development of business and additional employment in 2018, 37% of companies don’t plan to increase their number of employees, 56% consider that there will be new employment, while only 6% announced a possible reduction in their number of employees. During 2018, more than half of surveyed companies said that they plan to increase investments, while 8% announced a decrease in investments.

When it came to assessments of the factors impacting on business operations in Serbia, the worst were assessed as being: the fight against corruption and crime, legal security, transparency in public tenders, the tax system and tax administration, as well as the efficiency of public administration.

In order to help the state deal with negative factors, we will freely propose that the Government of Serbia establishes an advisory body of German investors

German-Serbian companies gave satisfactory ratings to criteria related to the labour market in Serbia: companies are satisfied with the level of productivity and motivation of employees, their qualifications, academic education and labour costs, as well as the quality and availability of local suppliers. Recognition of this factor is linked to the successful supply chain initiatives implemented by the AHK.

Within the framework of the survey, which was conducted by the German-Serbian Chamber in 16 countries of Central and Eastern Europe, participants also evaluated other countries. Thus, in the category of desirable economic locations, Serbia ranks 11th among 19 countries, as was the case in previous years. Companies that already operate in Serbia have a better opinion of Serbia than companies that have never operated in our country.

And although Serbia was commonly assessed as still being a very desirable destination for investment, competition in Eastern and Central Europe is very strong, ensuring that Serbia must work hard and actively to improve overall business conditions.

German Ambassador H.E Axel Dittmann expressed his satisfaction with the good results of this year’s survey. “The reactions of companies are positive again. The improvement of the overall economic situation in Serbia over the past years certainly contributes to this,” said Ambassador Dittmann, adding that this “is the result of important reforms of the Government of Serbia, dedication to which should continue in the future.”

Summing up the results of the survey, AHK president Dr Ronald Seeliger concluded that this year’s survey among German investors in Serbia shows the trend of further growth in satisfaction among companies assessing business conditions in Serbia. “This year, after a full decade, for the first time we have come significantly closer to the assessment of business conditions prior to the onset of the global economic crisis and its disastrous effects on all economies, which is an important shift. On the other hand, for the past three years, our members have identified the same factors as negative. That is precisely why – in order to help the state deal with these negative factors as soon as possible and to maximum effect – we will freely propose that the Government of Serbia establishes an advisory body of German investors. The Chamber will offer its know-how and experience, and the idea is that, in direct contact between our experts and representatives of the Government, in a quick and non-bureaucratic way, we will contribute to solving the problems that make it more difficult for businesses to work in Serbia.”

The AHK Serbia conducted its survey on the economic environment in Serbia among its member companies for the 13th time. There are nearly four hundred German companies currently operating in Serbia and employing more than 45,000 workers.