According to preliminary data from the National Bank of Serbia (NBS), in the first nine months of 2022, the influx of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Serbia amounted to EUR 3.011bn, slightly higher than during the same period of the previous year, when a total of EUR 3.002bn was invested.
“It is important to emphasise that after the temporary slowdown in the FDI influx in March and April, the positive trend of the record year 2021 has continued since May. These trends confirm that the FDI influx slowdown was temporary and caused by the initial shock after the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine”, the NBS reports.
Also according to the NBS, foreign investments in Serbia were productive and geographically diversified and mainly made in export-oriented companies. Specifically, from 2010 to the second quarter of 2022, foreign direct investments made by the EU amounted to EUR 19,204bn, China (including Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau) EUR 3,281bn, the Russian Federation EUR 2,473bn, and the United States EUR 733m.
Last year, FDI made by the EU amounted to €1.762 billion, China (including Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau) €630.4 million, the US €105.6 million and the Russian Federation €39.9 million. FDI influx in 2022 by country, available at the end of the second quarter together with those for the first half of 2022, show that the largest foreign investments came from China – €491.5 million, followed by the EU – €401 million, the US – €56.7 million and the Russian Federation – €30.4 million.
Bojan Stanić, deputy director of the Strategic Analysis Sector of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (PKS), says that China has emerged as the No 1 investor and is creating a foundation for the future. “China’s project – the New Silk Road (also known as Belt and Road) – is global in nature and the country is building the infrastructure to support it. Since Serbia is not a member of the EU, and we have free trade agreements with the EU and Russia and a strategic partnership with China, they have started to invest in the towns of Bor, Smederevo, Zrenjanin…They would also invest in other countries if they could manage to keep their contracts a secret, like here. Europe is much more regulated (than Serbia)”, Stanić notes.
He points out that the EU is still the main investor if we look at the last three years since about 56 per cent of all investments come from there.
“The US has invested little here, but we should bear in mind that a lot of their investments come from the Netherlands because the tax policy is more favourable there. For example, NCR, which employs several thousand workers in Serbia, is an American company but is registered as Dutch. Russian investments, on the other hand, come mainly through the Petroleum Industry of Serbia (NIS). There has been talk about the arrival of a Russian retail chain, but nothing is happening as yet. For comparison, Russian companies employ 2,000 workers here while German companies alone employ 40,000”, Stanić underlines.
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