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International convention and customs procedures of Serbia

International Conventions
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
International Economic Cooperation
In international trade, Serbia shows a preference for relations with the EU and the United States. Nevertheless, the Serbian government also wants to develop privileged relations with its neighbors as proved by the bilateral treaties signed with Bulgaria and Romania. A free trade agreement has been signed as well with Belarus (2009) and Russia(2001).
Non Tariff Barriers
Serbia uses a system of documentation which is relatively standard for import-export transactions and the trend is towards harmonization of procedures with those of the European Union. Import licences have been abolished for all goods except : arms and munitions, police and military equipment, antiques, works of art, precious metals, waste and substances which are dangerous for the ozone layer.


The label on each product must be written in Serbian and contain the following information : name of the product, full address of the producer or importer, net quantity/weight/volume, ingredients, storage and transport recommendations, and important recommendations for the consumer. Technically complicated goods must have instructions for use, the manufacturer's specifications, a list of authorized maintenance centers, information about the guarantee and especially its duration.

A certain number of products are banned from import, particularly because they are dangerous for the environment. These are :
- second-hand cars which do not have a Euro type engine
- 3 minimum in terms of maximum tolerated levels of noise and exhaust gas
- tractors, building and mining equipment more than three years old (except those imported for humanitarian reasons)
- dangerous waste,
- toxic substances.

For further information:
- the Ministry of Health

- the Ministry of Agriculture

Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
Serbia has officially lifted barriers to imports and exports. However, some taxes are still applied. Non-tariff barriers in the form of import quotas are established in appearance to protect national industries, but in fact protect monopolies operated by people close to the government. In 2002, taxes applied included Customs duties (9-30%, average 9.4), import taxes (1-9%), Customs fees (1%), surtax on some agricultural goods, seasonal import taxes (20%), and State duties (5-70%).

Serbia has set up free zones in the regions of Smederrevo, Kovin, Nis, Belgrade, Novi Sad, Sabac, Pahovo, Sombor, Sremska Mitrovica, Subotica, and Zrenjanin.

Customs Classification
In February 2004, Serbia applied to become a member of the WTO. On 27 November 2007, at the 4th meeting of the Membership Work Group, the members of the WTO examined Serbia's dossier and assessed the progress made in the bilateral negotiations concerning goods and services access to markets.

 

The members fully supported Serbia's rapid accession and noted with satisfaction the ambitious legislative action plan describing the various reforms undertaken by Serbia to change its trade regime. But a few thorny points still remain: import licenses, quantitative restrictions on imports of some petroleum derivatives, internal taxation, suspension of duties, OTCs and SPS measures.

However, quotas have been abolished and the number of import licences reduced. The amendment of the Customs Tariffs Act of July 2005 makes it compatible with the application of the Harmonized Customs system (HS). Customs duties go from 0% to 30%, according to the products and according to the partners. The most heavily taxed goods are arms and munitions.
In 2000, two series of measures were introduced to strengthen trade relations between the EU and Serbia : asymmetrical trade preferences and agreements on stabilization and association.

Import Procedures
Serbia uses a standardised import/export documentation process (generally requiring a bill of lading, etc.). With the liberalisation of the trade regime and the reformation of trade/customs-related institutions, Serbia continues to synchronise its documentation with the European Union.

The Serbian Customs Tariff is harmonised annually with the EU Combined Nomenclature. In Serbia, several tariff regulations are binding:

  • Decisions on Tariff Classification published in the Official Journal of the European Union;
  • Decisions on Tariff Classification issued by the World Customs Organization (WCO);
  • Binding Tariff Information issued by the Serbian Customs Administration, upon request, regarding the classification of certain goods, in case of ambiguity or uncertainty.

Official translations of EU and WCO decisions are published regularly in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia.

Import licenses are required for narcotics (including psychotropic substances), medicines containing narcotics, precursors for the manufacture of narcotics, vitamins, blood products, microorganisms, human body parts, non-registered medicines and medical devices, endangered species of wild fauna and flora, substances depleting the ozone layer, radioactive materials, reactors and reactor parts, arms, military equipment and dual-use goods, asbestos, industrial explosives, hunting and sports arms and ammunition for such arms, precious metals, and specific agricultural products for veterinary purposes.  The majority of the above-mentioned goods are subject to import licenses in accordance with existing international conventions.

For more information, please visit the website of Serbian Customs.

 

To go further, check out our service Import controls and Export controls.

 
For Further Information
Customs Office in Serbia

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Latest Update: July 2022

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