PM: Serbia Wants More Foreign Investment

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.

“To achieve 4 percent growth (of the gross domestic product) in 2009, Serbia needs direct foreign investment. That’s the key,” 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 “low, 10 percent tax on profits and 12 percent income tax.”

Since 2001, Greece has invested as much as €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 €205 million.

Cvetkovic said Serbia’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 €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.  

At the conference, Economy Minister Mladjan Dinkic announced that Serbia will also initiate talks on free trade with Belarus and Ukraine “as soon as the volatile political situation” in the latter former Soviet republic sparked by the collapse of the ruling coalition is stabilised.

“That will make Serbia even more attractive for Greek investors,” he said. 

He said that “Corridor 10 will give additional boost” to Greece’s Aegean port of Thessaloniki “which will become the most important point for European exports to Asia.”

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