Branislava Stojković Marčetić, Director Of The Subotica Free Zone:

Modern Operations for Top Results

The Subotica Free Zone is proud of being engaged in almost all aspects of contemporary operations in this segment – from administrative incentives to a liberal operations regime, as regulated by the Law on Free Zones, as well as special customs clearance benefits

Branislava Stojkovic Marcetic

The Subotica Free Zone is undoubtedly one of Serbia’s top free zones. It has an exceptional geographical location, comprehensive infrastructure, simplified administrative procedures and staff that go out of their way to meet the demands of existing investors. The Free Zone has brought several multinational companies to Subotica, which found exceptional conditions for doing business here.

The biggest complaint among investors in Serbia is the country’s complicated administration. Which procedures do investors need to complete in order to use the services of your free zone?

– The procedures are very simple and quite fast. In order to become a user of the Subotica Free Zone, you would need to fill in an application containing a short description of the business you plan to do in the zone and to submit a photocopy of company registration documents. After you submit an application, you will sign a contract with the Free Zone and receive written confirmation from us that you are now officially a user of the Zone’s services. Once that is done, your business in the zone can begin. Of course, it is very important for your company to establish offices in one of the facilities inside the Free Zone, regardless of the nature of your business (production or retail).

Who currently uses the Subotica Free Zone?

– We are very proud of the business reputation of our users. Apart from Siemens, which was practically the first to come to the Free Zone, today we have many companies that are leaders in their respective business segments. Siemens has been producing wind generators here for over a decade and we are very happy with the fact that every third wind generator used in Europe was actually manufactured in Subotica.

Norma Group is also one of the leading companies in its respective segment and their factory in Subotica produces car parts. They came to Subotica in October 2011 and now have their own production facility spanning 12,000 square metres.

Continental Contitech Fluid is engaged in a wide range of operations and here they produce car parts. They have their own production facility of 7,400 square metres and will soon begin to build the second facility, spanning over 12,000 square metres.

In Subotica, the world-famous Swarowski Company has one of the best equipped production facilities in Europe covering 15,000 square metres. They produce their famous jewellery and jewellery parts in the free zone. They also own four hectares of building plots which they might use to expand their production facility.

Dunkermotoren Company, which was acquired by AMETEK Group in 2012, produces a wide range of multipurpose micro-engines in their 4,500-square-metre production facility in the Subotica Free Zone.

Another company from the AMETEK Group – AMETEK FSM, which produces similar products for Dunkermotoren, launched production here in June 2015.

Apart from large manufacturers, there is a variety of retail users that store their products in the Free Zone.

What advantages does the Subotica Free Zone have when it comes to attracting new investors?

– First and foremost, the Free Zone offers more liberal operations regulated by the Law on Free Zones. In addition to special custom clearance benefits and completely simplified administrative procedures, you can do any business here apart from those that might threaten our country’s security or could have an adverse environmental impact.

The land in the zone is regulated and has proper infrastructure, located within the borders of this country altough is an institution that encourages investment of capital, production and product exchange, and it also offers a series of benefits in terms of foreign trade and foreign exchange, with an emphasis on protecting the invested assets and property of our foreign users.

Apart from the aforementioned benefits, another advantage of our Free Zone is that it is close to the border with the EU, which can result in huge savings in terms of transport costs compared to other regions of Serbia.

We would also like to mention our outstanding cooperation with the customs office, our all day-time working hours, which include Saturdays, and good road links to all major transport corridors. Additionally, we have excellent collaboration with educational institutions and the possibility in mediation on defining educational profiles in high schools and colleges in Subotica, to help to ensure better base for qualified labour force and choice for our clients. Last, but certainly not least, Subotica is a friendly environment for anybody coming to live here from the EU, while the city and its surroundings offer many social activities.

From the business point of view, we have a very flexible approach to monitoring the development of companies and their needs, in order to provide them with the best possible infrastructure.

subotica

It Is Viewed As An Institution That Encourages Investment Of Capital, Production And Product Exchange, And It Also Offers A Series Of Benefits In Terms Of Foreign Trade And Foreign Exchange, With An Emphasis On Protecting The Invested Assets And Property Of Our Foreign Users, Branislava Stojković

Are there possibilities for Greenfield investments or it is just the opportunity to use the Zone’s existing facilities?

– Most of the investors have opted for Greenfield investments here and it is our job to follow their requirements according to their business policies. Both types of investments can be realised here and our team has sufficient experience. Siemens, Dunkermotoren and AMETEK FSM have leased facilities from us, while other investors headed by green fields and built their own production facilities. We are also experienced in tripartite arrangements, where a potential investor hires a third party to build and rent a facility. We are open to various possibilities and are willing to realise every opportunity that will benefit both, investors and the city.

The Free Zone offers several benefits that can be grouped as follows:

FISCAL BENEFITS
– Exemption from paying VAT on bringing goods into the Zone, providing transportation and other services in connection with the entry of goods,
– Exemption from paying VAT on supplying goods and services in the Free Zone – Exemption from VAT on supplies of goods between users of two Free Zones
– Exemption from paying VAT on energy consumption for production companies. – Exemption from paying certain types of taxes related to FDIs

CUSTOMS CLEARANCE BENEFITS
– Exemption from paying custom duties and other import fees on goods to be used in the company’s operations and in the construction of facilities within the Free Zone (raw materials, equipment, construction materials).

FINANCIAL BENEFITS
– Free capital, profit and dividend flow
– Funds from the Republic of Serbia’s budget for financing projects in both the production and service sectors that could later be the subject of international trade.

SIMPLE AND FAST CUSTOMS CLEARANCE PROCEDURES
– A customs office in every free zone
– Simplified customs clearance procedures in free zones

Apart from the aforementioned benefits, free zone users also have the right to take advantage of the benefits contained in the free trade agreements which Serbia has signed with the CEFTA and EFTA countries, as well as with the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Belarus. Of course, first of all it is necessary to fulfill the condition to become a free zone user, which is simple as we described earlier.

How does the Subotica Free Zone promote its activities?
– We carry out our promotional activities in cooperation with specialised public enterprise PTP (Privredno-Tehnološki Parkovi) and the City of Subotica. We are the part of a team that has managed to achieve one of the best results in attracting foreign investments in last six years. We are very proud of the fact that, from the initial 53 hectares of the available land for the construction of the Mali Bajmok industrial zone, today we have grown to encompass over 100,000 square metres of production halls, where more than 3,500 of our fellow citizens have found job. Apart from the companies that operates in the Free Zone Subotica, there is another company – Calzedonia – that does business in the industrial zone and has approximately 1,150 workers.

We regularly attend the most prestigious investor fairs (particularly REAL EXPO MUNICH), appear in specialised magazines and collaborate with many chambers of commerce and agencies like Austria Advantage.

We are convinced that our biggest promotion power in the forthcoming period is the satisfaction of our users and their recommendations to everyone to become the part of of a successful team.

In the next period we have accepted a new challenge, in which, with Municipality of Kikinda will together, apply the successful recipe from Subotica and where we will expand our land plots on the territory of Kikinda with additional 40 hectares of land plot for the purpose of our business.