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Local business incentives - Legal forms of companies - Registration and licensing procedures - Legal framework - Foreign exchange control - Regulations concerning equity investment - FDI inflows - Expertise of the political risk

Local business incentives

The Serbian authorities' main incentive to investors lies in the setting up of 13 free zones. Exports or imports through these zones are exempt from all restrictions and Customs duties, and from VAT, and building, buying or renting warehouses or commercial premises is made easier.

For further information about the features of each of these free zones :
- the site of the Serbian Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SIEPA) - this site is in English, Serbian and Italian


Legal forms of companies

Form Number of partners/shareholders Minimum and/or maximum capital Liability Registration fee Release of financial documents
 The"drustvo sa ogranicenom odgovornoscu" (d.o.o.) corresponds to a limited liability company

No minimum. 
50 partners maximum.

 Equivalent of 500 euros minimum, in CSD.  Their liability is limited to the amount of capital contributed. .  3,600 CSD  No
 The"akcionarsko drustvo" (a.d.) corresponds to a public limited company  Minimum 2 shareholders, maximum 100 for a closed a.d. , no maximum for an open a.d.  Equivalent of 10,000 euros minimum for a closed a.d., 25,000 euros for an open a.d. Their liability is limited to the amount of capital contributed.    10,200 CSD  Yes
 The"ortacko drustvo" (o.d.) corresponds to a general partnership  Minimum 2 partners  No minimum capital Their liability is joint and indefinite.    2,400 CSD  No
 The"komanditno drustvo" (k.d.) corresponds to a limited partnership  Minimum 2 partners  No minimum capital The liability of the active partners is unlimited. The liability of the sleeping partners is limited to the amount of capital contributed.    2,400 CSD  No

Registration and licensing procedures
Company registration has been carried out since January 1st 2006 at the Serbian Company Registration Agency. The average time for the procedures to create a company is 10 days.

For further information:
- the site of the Serbian Company Registration Agency- the site is in Serbian (Cyrillic and Latin script) and in English

Legal framework
An authorization is necessary to create a company in the following fields : health, pharmacy, veterinary products and services, transport, arms and munitions, insurance, bankruptcy management.

Foreign exchange control
Following a decade in the 1990's marked by abuse, bad management and illegal transactions, the banking sector in Serbia has been vastly transformed in the early 2000's. The country's four main banks were declared bankrupt in January 2002, since when a wide privatization movement, especially in favor of foreign banks, has been set up. At the same time a lot of foreign banks have established themselves in Serbia. Today most of the big French banks are established there.

What means of payment should you use?
- bank cheque : reject this, it is slow and costly;
- promissory note : avoid this;
- bill of exchange : avoid this;
- documentary collection : advisable;
- documentary letter of credit : advisable; it takes 5 to 15 days;
- SWIFT transfer : advisable, it takes 48 hours;
- standby letter of credit : advisable

According to the local banks, the means of payment offering the best quality/security ratio are, in order, the SWIFT transfer, the documentary letter of credit and the standby letter of credit.

There is no exchange control in Serbia. The legal tender is the dinar. It floats freely but the National Bank of Serbia (NBS) manages to maintain the stability of the currency, which is in practice tied to the euro. The Serbian dinar is available outside the Serbian borders but not everywhere. Cash can enter or leave the country up to the equivalent of 5,000 euros per person (Currency Transactions Act 2006).

Regulations concerning equity investment
A foreign investor can own 100% of the shares in a Serbian company.  

Foreign Direct Investment inflows in Serbia

FDI inflows 2003 2004 2005 World rank (*)
FDI inflows (USD million) 1346.7 957.9 1369.2 -
Source : UNCTAD - World Investment Report
Note : (*) World Rank = UNCTAD Inward FDI Performance Index. It is a measure of the extend to which a host country receives inward FDI relative to its economic size. It is calculated as a ratio of the country's share in global FDI inflows to its share in global GDP.


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