The global economic crisis has affected the decrease in the amount of investments around the world, but there is still great interest for investment in Serbia. It is confirmed by the input of world renowned companies in the Serbian economy, as well as the announcement of new ones arriving. According to Minister of Economy Nebojsa Ciric, it is expected that direct foreign investments in 2012 will surpass last year’s amount. Biljana Blanusa has more on the subject.
Obtaining the status of a candidate for membership in the EU has helped Serbia becoming even more attractive for foreign entrepreneurs, which should result in new investments. According to Minister Ciric, Serbia achieved good results in 2011, having foreign investments in the economy amount to 2.9 billion dollars. It is especially important having in mind that the countries in the region have attracted much less direct investments. The reasons for that are qualified workforce, attractive tax system, incentives from the Government and proactive local self-rule bodies. Ciric has stressed that the interest of investors is growing, as well as the number of countries they are coming from. For example, there is increasing number of Turkish investors, and their significance is evident from the fact that last year alone they invested over seven billion euros in Africa. Serbia and Turkey have the Agreement on Free Trade and several bilateral contracts, and the Memorandum of Cooperation envisages the investment of the Turkish company Boral Aluminum in the amount of 50 million euros.
There are reasons for optimism, as testified to by the news from Smederevo, relating to a refinery to be constructed in that town. At issue is a Greenfield investment of the US company Comico Oil, worth around 250 million dollars, which will enable the opening of 500 work places. Besides that, also planned are the investments in ecology and infrastructure, amounting to ten million dollars. German company Siemens, which has been operating in Serbia again after ten years, has announced new investments. Namely, the expansion of the product offer and installment of new equipment in the next two years will require 24 million euros. Owing to that investment the number of employees will grow from 500 to 650, and the production value will rise to 200 million euros. The larger part of the production is aimed at exports, whose worth in 2011 reached 100 million euros. The factory in Subotica is specific for the production of a new type of generators for wind power plants, unique in the world. A half of the entire production is distributed in the US market, and generators from Subotica can be found in all continents.
If we take into consideration that as of mid-2012 the serial production of the new Fiat model will start, and consequently giving boost to the entire metallurgy sector, we can rightfully expect the arrival of new investors. That company has already provided the coming of a number of car components manufacturers from Italy, and the opening of plants in Serbia has been announced by companies from other countries, too. The Czech manufacturer Magma has already commenced the preparations to build a plant in Odzaci, Vojvodina, which will offer jobs to 450 employees, and car component firms are also present in other parts of the country. South Korean company Yura has production facilities in Nis, Raca and Leskovac, while the German company Leoni works in Vrsac.