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Country Forecast Serbia June 2018

Country Forecast Serbia June 2018

  • June 2018
  • ID: 1697274
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit

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Policy towards private enterprise and competition


2018-19: Government tackles state enterprise restructuring under a new IMF programme. Corruption is still widespread.


2020-22: Limited progress on large-scale privatisation, due to the unattractiveness of many assets and government reluctance to sell off the "crown jewels". Obstacles to competition are reduced as Serbia moves closer to EU membership.


Policy towards foreign investment


2018-19: External risk aversion limits opportunities for foreign investors. Complexity of tax system hampers business.


2020-22: Government pressured to cut red tape. Focus on "strategic alliances" in foreign direct investment policy.


Foreign trade and exchange controls


2018-19: Trade with the EU liberalised as accession negotiations proceed. Accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) remains on hold.


2020-22: Gradual liberalisation of capital account. Non-tariff barriers progressively removed. WTO accession stalled.


Taxes


2018-19: Gradual increase in excise duties on fuel, alcohol, tobacco and coffee. Pace of reduction of para-fiscal taxes slows. Tax system remains complex, but introduction of electronic tax filing completed. New double-taxation agreements signed.


2020-22: Social security contributions remain high. Pension system under strain. Computerisation improves tax collection.


Financing


2018-19: National Bank of Serbia (NBS, the central bank) implements Basel III. More progress reducing non-performing loans. 2020-22: Financial sector deepens and becomes more efficient and concentrated. Regular diagnostic tests by NBS unlikely to reveal critical problems. Belgrade Stock Exchange fails to emerge as an important allocator of capital.


The labour market


2018-19: Unemployment continues to fall. More labour market flexibility, but also more informal employment.


2020-22: Employment among young people improves, largely owing to the vigorous expansion of export-oriented information technology-based activities.


Infrastructure


2018-19: Considerable progress in upgrading energy and road and rail networks. EU objections to major railway project between the Serbian and Hungarian capitals not resolved quickly.


2020-22: Continued dependence on foreign finance, especially Chinese, to modernise transport, energy, tele-communications and electricity.


Technological readiness


2018-19: Performance in e-government and quality of e-commerce improves. Slow progress in improving other innovation metrics, such as research infrastructure, patent applications, and research and development spending.


2020-22: Internet usage and mobile-phone subscriptions increase modestly, as does the quality of e-commerce, but overall innovation capacity remains weak.



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