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Foreign Investors Council
47, Gospodar Jevremova Street, IV Floor, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
Phone: +381 11 3281 958, 3281 965
e-mail: office@fic.org.rs

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Recent Activities

16. November 2017.

White Book Promoted in Media

FIC representatives promoted WB and FIC recommendations in a series of media appearances on a day of the WB Launch and in the following days and weeks.

The realization of the WB media plan started on the day of the WB Launch, with the interview with FIC President Yana Mikhailova in the morning news edition at the national TV RTS. On this occasion she presented the main findings and cited the areas with the most and least progress. It was also the opportunity to promote to the large audience FIC views on some of the remaining issues including restitution and taxes. “The satisfaction comes when the laws are clear. More precise and transparent procedures in restitution will bring significant benefit to the participants in the market”, she said, adding that foreign citizens should have the same rights as Serbian citizens when it comes to the restitution. On the issue of taxes, Yana Mikhailova drew attention to the need to simplify the income taxes, as well as to envisage filing tax returns on the monthly level as a way to simplify operations of businesses without prejudice to the Serbian budget. Other issues tackled in the interview included the labour legislation, and in particular the need to regulate staff leasing to protect all parties in the process and the need to pursue with reforms such as cutting bureaucracy. Whole interview can be accessed here below.

 

After the Launch, FIC President also gave interview for the November edition of Biznis magazine, in which she outlined that the aim of the WB task force is to improve the implementation of recommendations, ensuring the improvement rate of 50% instead of the current average of 35 to 45%. She explained that the proposal of the WG working plan focuses on 6 key areas, and contains mostly the activities that can be quickly pursued, e.g. by amending the opinions of the ministries or Government’s decisions. The interview, containing more info on the key FIC expectations and the importance of dialogue, can be accessed here below.

At ,,Dan uzivo’’ show on TV N1 on November 8 after the WB Launch, FIC Vice President Dimitrije Knjeginjic expressed the satisfaction that one third of the 400 FIC recommendations were accepted, but also said that more could be done. “We had open and transparent dialogue with the Serbian Government. As a result of the joint efforts the team for the implementation of the WB recommendations was created, and is presided by the Prime Minister. I believe that this team will address the remaining issues“, he said. FIC Vice President praised the improvement regarding the construction licences, assessing them as “revolutionary“. Asked about subsidies for the big investors, he said that they are needed, but should be transparent, with clear conditions for granting. Transcript can be found here below.

 

On November 9 in a TV show ,,Pravi ugao’’ on RTV1, BoD member Vladislav Lalic praised improvements in the previous period, but also outlined the need for more dynamic reforms. He also clarified FIC views on some sensitive issues such as labour legislation. Asked about the good WB assessment of the improvement in the construction area, he said that the procedure for construction licences is now more transparent, efficient, predictable and quick. Asked on the FIC request for more flexibility in the employment rules, he explained the need to achieve flexibility in view of improving competitiveness in the market.  Vladislav Lalic also outlined that FIC members had good labour practices. Importance of the infrastructure was also mentioned, and concrete achievements praised by the FIC explained, such as the signature of the financing contract for modernization of the railways and the undergoing works on the highways. Part of the interview that can be viewed here below concerned IKEA, company from which Lalic comes, and its experience in the establishment of activities in Serbia.

 

 

On November 15, FIC Executive Director Ana Tozzi participated in a radio show “U sredistu paznje” on Radio Belgrade, together with two professors at the Faculty of the Economy Milorad Filipovic and Bozidar Cerovic. She presented key WB results, such as the achievement rate of 33% of FIC recommendations. In a discussion FIC Executive Director made it clear that when assessing the improvement FIC takes into account the longer time needed for certain reforms. She also outlined that FIC clearly represents business interests, but that the clear rules in the association exist to avoid promotion of the individual company interests. As the issue of subsidies was tackled, FIC Executive Director said that they are not of key importance for FIC members and can only be seen as an additional benefit. “The serious companies come to stay for long time, and in order to develop their business here. They don’t look for the subsidies, even if they will surely accept them if they can get them”, she said. In this respect, FIC Executive Director drew attention that the subsidies were in the majority of cases granted for opening new jobs, and consequently the supported projects were mainly on a low technological level. In terms of technological development, she said that FIC members face the problem to implement research technologies in Serbia, as they are not supported by the standards in the country. Ana Tozzi also outlined the importance of the EU integrations to enable easier cooperation with other countries, but also the simplification of business rules. Transcript of this dynamic show, in which FIC was invited in addition of the media plan, can be accessed here below.

 

On the day of the Launch, presentation of the WB and key findings from the new edition were published in daily Politika as a result of the exclusive cooperation with that newspaper, giving access to the WB prior to the Launch. “Foreign investors say that they respect the efforts of the new authorities to improve the business climate and pursue the reforms, but point out that this year’s improvement isn’t more significant than the last one’s”, the text says. WB Task force was mentioned and the 15th anniversary of FIC promoted. Ranking of the areas with most and least progress was especially outlined, as well as the assessment of the results of the fight against grey economy. Text can be accessed here below.

 

 

White Book

White Book
Published yearly since 2003, goal of the White Book is to enable removing unneeded barriers and make doing business in Serbia easier, thus enabling better inflow of investments. It is promoted every year in the fourth quarter at the prestigious high-level event.

Rcc

Rcc
Reality Check Conference is an important tool in achieving FIC goals: it is an event meant to remind the authorities about the recommendations from the latest White Book edition and check status of their implementation.