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 60% of Serbia’s total trade in 2021, with similar percentages persisting over the years. The value of Serbian exports to the EU more than quadrupled from nearly EUR 3.2 billion in 2009 to almost EUR 14 billion in 2021!

Total value of Serbia’s exports to the EU has reached a new record in 2021 of almost EUR 14 billion, well surpassing the pre-pandemic record registered in 2019 in the amount of EUR 11.4 billion.

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 on a clear upward trend from 48% in 2009 to over 85% in 2021 (85% 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, Hungary and Romania. Serbia exported almost 13% of total exports to Germany alone and another 8.5% to Italy in 2021. On the import side, more than 13% of Serbia’s total imports originated from Germany, followed by 8% of imports that came from Italy last year.

Concerning trade in agricultural products, Serbia traditionally enjoys a surplus vis-à-vis the EU. This surplus on the Serbian side reached its all-time-high in 2021 at EUR 688 million.

The EU market represents the most important export destination for Serbian agricultural products as over 55% of Serbia’s agricultural exports were shipped to the EU last year. Serbia’s agricultural exports to the EU almost quadrupled over the past decade, from EUR 640 million in 2009 to EUR 2.3 billion in 2021. 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 EUR 1.6 billion in 2021.

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, pending publication of FDI statistics for 2021. 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.