US investors POSITIVELY assess Serbia
The investment climate in Serbia has improved over recent years owing to macroeconomic reforms, greater financial stability, improved fiscal discipline and the process of joining the European Union, according to a report by the State Department. If the Serbian government implements the promised reforms during the EU accession process, business opportunities could continue to grow in the upcoming years, concludes the State Department in a detailed analysis. In the latest report by the State Department on the investment climate, it is added that the Government of Serbia emphasized economic growth and job creation as major economic priorities, and dedicated itself to solving a large number of issues related to the slow transition of the country towards market-oriented capitalism. Attracting foreign investments remains an important priority for the government, the report says. It is pointed out that US investors positively evaluate Serbia, especially the country’s strategic position, well-educated and cost-effective workforce, English language proficiency, investment incentives and free trade agreements with key markets, primarily with the European Union. A significant risk to the investment climate is the unresolved issue of state-owned enterprises, which are big loss-makers, grey economy, corruption and an ineffective justice system, the report says, adding that the political influence on the decisions of officially independent regulatory bodies is also worrying. Digitalization of certain functions, such as issuing building permits, tax administration and e-signature has not yet dramatically accelerated the processing procedure, the report says. It is also underlined that the government is reducing a large number of employees in the public sector, mainly through a ban on employment that continued in 2018. The report estimates that the sectors that can benefit most are agriculture and agricultural processing, solid waste management, environmental protection, information and communication technologies, renewable energy sources, healthcare, mining and industry. The State Department concludes that women in Serbia generally have equal treatment in business, and that the Government offers various programs to support female entrepreneurship.