Belgrade – Serbia will offer incentives to foreign investors including low taxes and subsidies, with an aim of boosting the economy, Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic said Monday.
â€œTo achieve 4 percent growth (of the gross domestic product) in 2009, Serbia needs direct foreign investment. Thatâ€™s the key,â€ Cvetkovic said at a business conference attended by a Greek delegation in the capital, Belgrade.
He said that the government was ready to offer subsidies and other incentives to foreign investors including â€œlow, 10 percent tax on profits and 12 percent income tax.”
Since 2001, Greece has invested as much as â‚¬2.2 billion in Serbia and it is the second-largest investor after Austria. A total of 300 Greek companies are currently present in Serbia mainly in the fields of energy, telecommunications and banking.
In 2007, Serbia had a trade deficit with Greece of as much as â‚¬205 million.
Cvetkovic said Serbiaâ€™s development priorities in 2009 will be the development of a motorway network dubbed Corridor 10 that will link the country with neighboring Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece via Macedonia.
Greece has already allotted â‚¬100 million from its Hellenic Plan investment programme for the development of the Corridor 10 stretch between the southern town of Leskovac and the Presevo boundary crossing with Macedonia. Â
At the conference, Economy Minister Mladjan Dinkic announced that Serbia will also initiate talks on free trade with Belarus and Ukraine â€œas soon as the volatile political situationâ€ in the latter former Soviet republic sparked by the collapse of the ruling coalition is stabilised.
â€œThat will make Serbia even more attractive for Greek investors,â€ he said.Â
He said that â€œCorridor 10 will give additional boostâ€ to Greeceâ€™s Aegean port of Thessaloniki â€œwhich will become the most important point for European exports to Asia.â€