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Serbia - Greece Business Forum: Perspectives of bilateral economic cooperation

12. September 2011. | 11:27

Source: Emg.rs

City: Thessaloniki

Author: Nikos D. A. Arvanites

Taking into consideration the interest of the Serbian business community, which depicts the structure of the business delegation to Thessaloniki, the most profitable fields for cooperation are the agribusiness and food processing industry, metal and metal processing industry, wood processing industry, tourism and the investment in the free zones.

The Business Forum, where more than one hundred Greek and Serbian businessmen dealing with the agribusiness, chemical industry, wood processing, machinery construction, trade and services participated, took place at the premises of the Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the 9th of September 2011.

The representatives of the chamber system of both countries, which have successful cooperation, so on the bilateral level as within the network of the global associations and in mutual projects (European Entrepreneurial Network), considered all possibilities for the improvement of the cooperation of the companies from Thessaloniki and the region in Serbia.

The plenary part of the Business Forum included the presentation of the up-to-now economic cooperation of Serbia and Greece and potentials for further improvement of the issue at stake.

The latest available data show that in this year a growth trend of the Serbian export has been recorded, so in the first half of this year the export from Serbia to Greece was higher by 16 percent than in the same period of the previous year. Even 97 percent of the turnover consists of the trade exchange, whereas the Serbian export is growing through the free trade zones.

Observed by the structure of the import and export, in the first six months this year Serbia has mostly exported white sugar (33.31%) and varied industrial raw material, while Serbia has imported from Greece a considerable quantity of oranges (near 16% of total import from Greece) and diesel fuel (3.37%).

Taking into consideration the interest of the Serbian business community, which depicts the structure of the business delegation to Thessaloniki, the most profitable fields for cooperation are the agribusiness and food processing industry, metal and metal processing industry, wood processing industry, tourism and the investment in the free zones.


The economic cooperation of Serbia and Greece is characterized by the stability, variety and constant growth since 2000, particularly in the trade exchange as the dominant form of the cooperation.

The greatest number of activities both in the export and import is realized through the trade in goods (97 percent), whereas the Serbian export is in a growth through the free trade zones (1.24 percent in the first six months 2011).

The data for 2008 indicate that in that year the exchange trade in goods reached its maximum ever, in the value of almost USD 500 million, with the coverage of import by export (circa 74 percent). However, in 2009 this number was reduced if compared to 2008 (near 25 and 36 percent respectively). In the previous year total volume of the trade exchange reached USD 410,1 million, with low Serbian deficit of USD 45,89 million.

In the first half of this year the Serbian export to Greece reached 103,21 million euro, which is by 16 percent higher than it was in the same period of the previous year. Thus, Greece is ranked the 16th on the list of the leading Serbian importers (144 of them).

When it comes to the importation, in the observed period, Serbia imported 10 percent more (the import value is 119,55 million euro). Therefore, Greece is 21st importing partner to Serbia (out of 180 of them).

Substantial reduction of the trade deficit with Greece is the result of the growth of the Serbian export value in the amount of 35 percent in relation to 2009, thus in 2010 the lowest trade deficit was recorded. The coverage of import by export in the first half of this year reached the figure of 86,33 percent (in 2010 this number was 80,49 percent), and it is obvious to expect the same trend by the end of the year.

In the first six months 2011 the most dominant products exported to the Greek market were: sugar, sugar and honey products (32.33 percent), raw rubber (9.34 percent), paper, carton and cellulose products (8.87 percent)plastic material in primary shapes (7.97 percent) and iron and steel (7.02 percent).

In the importation, in the first six months 2011, the most dominant products were as follows: vegetable and fruit (22.54 percent), ferrous metals (10.39 percent), iron and steel (10.26 percent), plastic material in primary shapes (8.75 percent), dyeing and tanning products (4.91 percent).

The analysis of the structure of the trade exchange leads to the conclusion that the Serbian export is based on the raw materials and products for the reproduction, while Greek partners launch the products from the advanced processing phase ( for example chemical products, industrial machinery, and textile products).

Although Greece is the EU member-state, there are the benefits of the preferential trade, the non-customs export, in the foreign trade exchange with Serbia. As a protection measure of the internal market, the EU introduced the seasonal duty – levy in the amount of 9.4 percent of value on every 100 kilograms of maize imported from Serbia, which considerably reduces the competitiveness of these products from Serbia.

Greece is more increasingly getting interested in establishing and strengthening of the cooperation in the field of organic (diet) products, tourism and innovations (technology transfer, renewable energy resources and others). They are interested in three-party cooperation on the third markets.


The advanced forms of the cooperation with Greece are extremely developed. Up-to-now Greece has invested total of 2.5 billion euro, and is one of the leading investors in the economy of Serbia. Almost half of this sum are the Greenfield investments. According to the data obtained from the Greek side, these investments provide the creation of circa 25 000 new jobs.

The Greek capital is in varied segments of the Serbian economy, and the most dominant in the banking sector. In addition to this, the most important investments from Greece have been realized in the sector of telecommunications, energy, infrastructure, agribusiness, hospitality business, retail trade and others.

The table below shows the biggest Greek investments in the Serbian banking and varied Serbian business sectors.

Table 4: Leading Greek investments in Serbia

Greek company - investor

Serbian bank/company

Volume( in mill. euro)

National Bank of Greece

Vojvođanska bank


Eurobank EFG

Post bank; National saving bank


Verano Motors

Department stores Belgrade



Telekom Serbia


Alpha Bank



Coca Cola Helenic Bottling

Vlasinka-Vlasinska rosa


Lamda Development

BEKO Beograd






Cement factory Kosjerić


Neochimici L.V. Lavrentiadis

Society for production of oil, Petrol Refinery Belgrade,

IHP Prahovo


Piraeus bank

Atlas bank


Helenik Sugar

Sugar factory Crvenka; sugar factory Žabalj


Alumil Mylonas

Alumil Yu





Resource: Ministry of Economy and Regional Development, April 2011

According to the data of the National Bank of Serbia, in the period January – December 2010 Greece was the 12th leading direct foreign investor in Serbia with its total investments worth 33 million euro. In the first three months this year the Greek businessmen invested near USD 1,08 million, and thus Greece was ranked the 22nd the most important investor.

There are 250 registered Greek companies doing business in Serbia. A greater number of the Greek companies running a business on the territory of Serbia has common investments with the domestic partners.

The Hellenic Business Association Serbia gathers 57 companies with the majority of the Greek capital. It was established with a view to support the Greek companies running a business on the territory of Serbia and to promote the business environment – in order to support the existing and to stimulate the future investors from Greece. The president of this Association is the general manager of Metal Glob company Vasilis Dertilis, while the director of the Association is Nikolas Karakostas, general manager of Megastore Electronic company.


The agreements of importance for the development of the bilateral economic cooperation are as follows: double tax evasion (2009), aviation transportation (2009), economic and technological cooperation (2003), international road passenger and good transportation (2003), common stimulation and investment protection (1998) and others.


The chamber-to-chamber cooperation of the two countries both at the bilateral and multilateral level, as well as the cooperation with other institutions and associations in Greece is good and constant.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia signed the Agreement on cooperation with the CCI Athens, Hellenic Export Promotion Organization (HEPO, Athens) and Hellenic – Serbian Union of Commerce and Industry (ESEVE). The active cooperation has been realized through the multilateral forums such are Eurochambres, ASCAME, ABC and BSEC.

In 2004 the Section for Greece within the CCIS Board for International Economic Relations was established with over 70 companies already running or intending to start up a business with Greece.

The Greek – Serbian Business Council was established in 2005 when the meeting of the Greek side of the Council in Athens was organized. The main aim of this body is to coordinate the promotion of the Greek entrepreneurship in Serbia, more close cooperation between the most successful businessmen from both countries, with the support of the government and the improvement of total bilateral economic and cultural cooperation. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia is the coordinator of the activities trusted to the Serbian side of the Business Council.

The companies making up the Serbian side of the Greek – Serbian Business Council are: Dunav ad Grocka, Simpo ad, Victoriaoil ad, Galenika ad, Energoprojekt, PPT Engineering, Farmakom Concern MB, Amiga doo and GEBS doo.

The members of the Greek part of the Busines Council are: Aegean Airlines, Alapis, ALICO-American Life Insurance Company, Alpha Bank, Arxikon, Bahas, Gramatidis & Partners, Bluehouse, Club Hotel Casino Loutraki, Coca Cola – 3E Hellenic Bottling Company, EFG Eurobank, Properties, EFG Eurobank, ENET, Global Finance, Hellenic Petroleum, Hellenic Telecommunication Organization Intracom, Intralot, ICTS, Kestrel Information Systems, Lamda Development, Laskaridis Group - Lampsa Hotels, Mamidakis Brothers Group, Metropol Palace, National Bank of Greece, Piraeus Bank, Planet, SGT, Τitan Cement, Tricardos, Viniko.


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13. September 2011. 08:05:32

| kathryn


Good luck to Serbia and Greece.


31. October - 06. November 2011.