German investors positively assess the economic climate in Serbia

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Members of the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce (AHK Serbia) positively assessed the economic climate in Serbia and have positive expectations regarding their own business, and as many as 90 percent of companies would invest in Serbia again, showed the results of the AHK Serbia survey presented today.
As the biggest risks in the development of their companies in the next year, businessmen point out the demand, economic framework and legal security, as well as the labor deficit, showed a survey conducted among AHK Serbia member companies from mid-March to mid-April.
The survey, conducted for the 16th time, involved 128 AHK member companies, most from the manufacturing and services and trade sectors, and the results showed that the assessment of the economic situation in Serbia in 2021 is better than in the previous five years, with the exception of In 2019 and the period before the pandemic.
The companies evaluate their business better than the general economic climate, and the president of AHK Serbia, Udo Eichlinger, said at the press conference that this year’s survey among German investors in Serbia shows a trend of further growth of company satisfaction in assessing business conditions.
There are about 400 companies with German capital in Serbia, which employ about 70,000 workers, and Eichlinger says that 44.1 percent of the respondents rate their business as good, 47 percent as satisfactory, and only 8.7 percent as insufficient.
He stated that 44.1 percent of the surveyed companies expect an increase in the number of employees, 48 percent do not expect any changes in the number of employees, while 7.9 percent of the respondents assume that the number of employees in their companies will decrease.
“We can assess those expectations as positive, because they do not differ too much from the results from 2019 and the period before the pandemic,” Eichlinger said.
The results showed that 40 percent of the surveyed companies plan to increase investments, while 20.5 percent announce their decrease.
When assessing the factors that affect business in Serbia, the fight against corruption and crime, legal security, transparency in public procurement, flexibility of labor laws, as well as the efficiency of public administration and the availability of labor force were rated the worst.
As it was said, the companies are satisfied with the productivity and motivation of the employees, their qualifications, academic education and dual education, and for the first time, the tax system and the tax administration were on the list of positive factors.
The director of AHK Serbia, Frank Aleter, said that a large number of German companies are currently looking for new suppliers, and that is exactly why the Western Balkans stands out in the foreground, and thus the chances for Serbia are great.
German Ambassador to Serbia Thomas Schieb said that the process of joining the EU brings great benefits and improves the attractiveness of Serbia as a place to invest.
He is satisfied with the results of the survey, having in mind the coronavirus pandemic.
“When you look at how business conditions in Serbia are assessed, you have a mixed picture, there are both satisfaction and shortcomings. The shortcomings relate primarily to legal certainty, the rule of law, transparency in public procurement and the fight against corruption. These are exactly the topics that are important and that are at the center of negotiations with the EU,” said Schieb.
He mentioned that the progress in the area of governance affects the process of joining the EU and that there is a lot to be done in that area.
State Secretary in the Ministry of Economy Milan Ljusic is also satisfied with the results of the survey and states that German investors are most interested in security, stability and that they have good workers.
“These are not only problems of German investors, but also of all businessmen in Serbia. As far as legal security is concerned, it is something that the Ministry of Economy has been working on for a long time and passing new laws,” said Ljusic and stated that the law on companies is currently being completed.
He sees great chances for new investments from Germany and says that the Government of Serbia is trying to attract new investments.
Mihailo Vesovic, Director of the Sector for Strategic Analysis, Services and Internationalization of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, says that the two main problems and main risks are the negative demographic trend and insufficient market demand, primarily from the EU.
“Our task is to slow down the negative demographic trend and reverse it. Serbia maintained employment during the crisis, the unemployment rate is below 10 percent, and that is the result of preserving production and good solid measures of the Government of Serbia last year, adopted in communication with the economy,” said Vesovic.
He also emphasized the importance of dual education, and stated that 6,900 high school students attend dual education this year within 47 educational profiles, while 52 educational profiles are planned for next year, Politika reports.