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Textile and footwear industry

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 The Serbian textile/garment industry comes from a long tradition and it is still one of most important industries in the country with about 100,000 workers and 10% of country GDP. The sector mainly comprises privately-owned companies (80% private enterprises out of 1,200 active companies in Serbia). The Serbian industry has always been opened to collaboration with foreign companies and has traditionally dedicated to foreign markets the majority of its production. 70% of Serbian exports, almost 200 million Euros, is shipped to EU markets. Serbian workers are highly specialized and trained to meet European market standards. On the other hand textile labour cost is one of the lowest in Serbia. Since the beginning of Serbian transition, the textile/garment industry appeared to be one of the most important sectors for foreign investors and foreign partners. Several Italian industries have already taken advantage of the Serbian privatization process that started in 2001 and many more have already signed partnership agreements with local companies.

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Serbia is geographically located in a very strategic position at the intersection of two important European corridors: n.7 and 10. Thanks to a number of economic pacts between Serbia, and USA, producing and manufacturing goods in Serbia means having preferential access to numerous markets. Serbia is located in the middle of the Balkans free trade area; hence goods manufactured in Serbia can be shipped duty-free to nearly 55 million people. Serbia is the only country outside the Commonwealth of Independent States having free trade agreement with Russia assuring exports to some 150 million people against a mere 1% duty on the shipment value.


An analysis of the trade/exchange flow between Italy and Serbia shows that garments are the third most important goods imported by Italy from Serbia accounting for more than 60 millions of Euros while yarns, fabrics and other textile products are the third most important goods exported by Italy totalling serbia-business.com100 million Euros. According to perspective studies, garments and textile will continue to offer interesting opportunities for industrial investment and collaborations. The Serbian government equally considers this sector as a priority in the framework of its investment policies aiming at regaining the traditional competitiveness of the local companies. A lot of companies have not been privatized yet which leaves a lot of opportunities opened to foreign investors. Finally on March 31st, 2005 Serbia and EU signed a textile industrial agreement to provide significant support to this sector. According to this agreement Serbian industries may export textile products to the EC without any custom duty. As already mentioned, textile goods exported to the European markets account for 70% of total Serbian textile exports, hence this agreement represents another remarkable incentive to investments.

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