Benefits from Serbia – EU trade
Serbia has substantially benefited from trade and economic integration with the EU. The EU is traditionally Serbia’s key trading partner accounting for more than 61% of Serbia’s total trade in 2020, with similar percentages persisting over the years. The value of Serbian exports to the EU almost quadrupled from nearly EUR 3.2 billion in 2009 to over EUR 11 billion in 2020!
Serbia’s exports to the EU have been growing faster than imports from the EU. Coverage of imports by exports on the Serbian side vis-à-vis the EU has been improving; from 48% in 2009 to over 82% in 2020 (82% of imports from the EU were covered by Serbian exports to the EU).
Individual EU member states traditionally top the list of Serbia’s most important trade partners in goods, notably Germany, Italy and Hungary, but also Romania as an important export destination for Serbian goods. Serbia exported almost 13% of total exports to Germany alone and another 8.4% to Italy in 2020. On the import side, Serbia imported more than 13% of all imports from Germany and another 8.4% from Italy in 2020.
Concerning trade in agricultural products, Serbia enjoys a surplus vis-à-vis the EU. This surplus on the Serbian side reached its peak in 2020 at more than EUR 524 million.
The EU market represents the most important export destination for Serbian agricultural products as more than half of Serbia’s agricultural exports are shipped to the EU. In 2020, Serbian agricultural exports to the EU accounted for 52% of Serbia’s total agricultural exports. Serbia’s agricultural exports to the EU almost tripled over the past decade, from EUR 640 million in 2009 to over EUR 1.8 billion in 2020. At the same time, Serbian imports of agricultural products from the EU have been on a steady rise during the previous decade from EUR 440 million in 2009 to over EUR 1.3 billion in 20.
Investment benefits for Serbia
Foreign direct investments (FDI) coming from the EU accounted for almost 68% of total FDI coming to Serbia over the eleven years, from 2010 until 2020. This trend has steadily continued in 2020 with EU FDI accounting for 68% of total FDI registered by the National Bank of Serbia. In absolute terms, FDI from the EU countries reached EUR 17.5 billion for the past eleven years.
Companies from the EU have been the leading investors in Serbia over the previous decade. These companies have brought efficiency, modern technology and know-how into the Serbian economy, providing jobs for many Serbian people. This has in turn significantly increased productivity and competitiveness of the Serbian economy, boosting its export potential, increasing budget revenues and generating economic growth. Ultimately, opening up of the Serbian market to companies from the EU has generated a variety of choice and lower prices for consumers.