Interview of the President of the Turkish-Serbian Business Association

  1. Turkish companies occupy a significant place in foreign direct investment in Serbia. What is the interest of Turkish businessmen to do business in Serbia?

The Free Trade Agreement signed between Serbia and Türkiye significantly increased the volume of trade, as well as the fact that Halkbank a.d. Beograd operates in the territory of the Republic of Serbia building strong relationships with its customers and the economy. Serbia has a very important geostrategic position in the Balkans in terms of economy and road network, which is extremely important for investors coming from the Republic of Türkiye.

  1. If the information is accurate that about 1,300 Turkish companies operate in Serbia, is that the maximum or is there still place to expand cooperation? 

Turkish companies operating in Serbia employ a significant number of people. The value of Turkish investments has increased to 250 million dollars, and we believe in further increasing of economic cooperation between two countries.

  1. According to the Statistical Office, the trade exchange between Serbia and Türkiye increased by 37.9 percent in the first 3 quarters of 2021 and amounted to 1.4 billion dollars. Last year, the volume of trade between this two countries amounted to a record 1.5 billion dollars. What would be the real trade exchange between Serbia and Türkiye on an annual basis?

In 2021 was realized the largest trade exchange between this two countries. Last year 2 billion dolar has been achieved and in the next couple of years 5 billion dolar will be achieved for sure.

  1. How would you describe the business environment in Serbia? 

As far as the business environment in Serbia is concerned, what is difficult for foreign inventors is the excess of administrative procedures. Digitization of administrative procedures will significantly improve the business environment in Serbia.

  1. What is the position of your company members operating in Serbia in Türkiye? 

Members of the Turkish-Serbian Business Association such as Beko Balkans-Arçelik in Türkiye, Nobel İlaç, Halkbank, Teklas, Söylemez, Eurotay, Bechtel Enka and all others are considered as leading companies in Türkiye in terms of their activities. Turkish investments take an important place in Serbia in terms of tourism, banking, health, energy, industry as well as education. 

  1. In addition to investing in companies, Turkey in Serbia also participates in the construction of highways, either as a lender, contractor or as part of a consortium.

 Very important projects are the construction of the Sarajevo-Belgrade highway as well as the construction of the Moravian Corridor. The Sarajevo-Belgrade highway will reduce travel from Sarajevo to Novi Pazar, Pristina, Skopje, Sofia, Istanbul, and the construction of the Pojate-Preljina highway will connect three districts – Rasina, Raska and Morava – with corridors 10 and 11. 

  1. In one of the visits, cooperation between the two countries in the technology sector, an area that is still developing in Serbia, was announced. It was pointed out that we can expect the engagement of Turkish engineers and innovators on joint projects soon. Which projects would be a priority?

The arrival of Turkish technology companies represents the potential for cooperation in the fields of robotics, artificial intelligence and blockchain. Turkish startup companies from the video game industry should be also mentioned.

  1. Turkey is a popular destination in Serbia as well. The agreement stipulates that only an ID card is enough for our citizens to enter and stay in Turkey. What would be the recommendation that could attract a Serbian tourist?

There is a visa-free travel regime between Serbia and Türkiye, and we will soon be able to travel with chipped ID cards. In addition to Istanbul and the Antalya region, which are well known to tourists from Serbia, Anatolia should be mentioned. Cappadocia, located in central Anatolia, is one of our recommendations.

  1. Closing remarks

Serbia’s strategic location provides a significant logistical advantage to Turkish companies, and our mission is to support cooperation between Serbian and Turkish companies in various economic segments. Bridge of cooperation between Serbia and Türkiye is one of important goals, as well as maintaining good relations and encouraging Turkish investors to invest in Serbia and continue to contribute to increasing trade.

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