Generalizes on the best strategy to enter the market, e.g., visiting the country; importance of relationships to finding a good partner; use of agents.
The Serbian Law on Trade, which regulates the activities of wholesalers and retailers, ensures that any firm may operate in foreign and domestic trade in Serbia. U.S. businesses planning to enter the Serbian market should consider the following:
- It is helpful to visit Serbia early in the market exploration phase to develop relevant industry contacts and understand Serbia’s bureaucratic structure.
- New entrants to established sectors in the market will often be competing with nearby suppliers from Croatia and Slovenia, as well as other dominant EU member country exporters, that benefit substantially from lower tariffs and various other trade preferences. Chinese exporters are very present and are supplying extremely low-cost goods of varying quality and customer-service support.
- For a new-to-market company, it is important to identify a local partner. The selection should be based on a potential partner’s knowledge of the local market and a thorough check of its reputation.
- Sales agents, representatives, and distributors all have important roles to play in this market. Regardless of which channel is selected, sales support and after-sales services are critical.
- Financing is a key consideration for Serbian companies when considering whether to take on a new U.S. product line—though very large sales can benefit from U.S. EXIM Bank lending.
- Consumer demand can be very price-sensitive in Serbia.
- The United States and Serbia do not have a tax treaty to avoid double taxation, although U.S. authorities may accept a filing of foreign-earned income exclusion in practice.
The U.S. Commercial Service at the U.S. Embassy provides several services to help U.S. companies successfully enter the Serbian market. Please contact us at: Belgrade@trade.gov
Local organizations such as the American Chamber of Commerce and the Serbian Chamber of Commerce are also excellent resources.