The economic impact of the coronavirus-related crisis is something the whole world is faced with but the Israeli economy is technologically driven and it has so far proved resilient to economic crises
“The decline in economic activity caused by COVID-19 is something that we will all face and be forced to deal with in the coming period. The Israeli economy is technologically driven and has so far proved resilient to economic crises. This gives us hope that the recovery will be faster,” said H.E. Alona Fisher Kamm, Ambassador of Israel to Serbia and Montenegro, in an interview for Nova Ekonomija.
The level of overall Israeli investments reached around 1 billion EUR over the years after the democratic changes in the year 2000 when most of the Israeli investors came to Serbia. The focus of investors was and still is the real estate sector which made Israel one of the top investors here. Apart from that, many Israeli IT, agriculture technology, fashion and jewellery companies are represented here by local Serbian companies. Significant investment boost from Israel is present in the manufacturing niche such as Strauss Adriatic acquisition of Doncafe and Foundry of Precise Castings – LPO Ada in ownership of Bet Shemesh Engines,” said H.E. Alona Fisher Kamm, Ambassador of Israel in Serbia and Montenegro, in 2016, when she started her tenure in Serbia. Four years later, during the first four months of 2020, the total value of the external trade amounted to 28.8 billion USD, with Serbia exporting 16.3 billion USD worth of goods to Israel. Also, bilateral and economic cooperation is very good.
The Serbian export is 17.3% higher in relation to the same period last year, while the value of imports 12.5 billion USD (a decrease of 28.0%). Serbia has recorded a surplus in the amount of 3.8 million USD in trading with Israel. The export to import ratio for the mentioned period stood at 130.4%.
Serbia mostly exported the following products to Israel (value in billion USD) – cigarettes containing tobacco 3.7 bln USD (+ 68.3%), new pneumatic tires for cars 2.1 bln USD (+ 54.3%), parts of turbojet or turboprop engines 1.4 bln USD (+ 133.2%), live lamb (up to one year age), bred for the non-EU countries, 1.3 bln USD (+ 83.3%), dog and cat food 0.8 bln USD (-20.3%), etc. The first five export products represent 57.1% of Serbian exports to Israel.
Serbia mostly imported the following products to Israel in the observed period (value in billion USD) – goods unclassified in the customs tariff – goods in storage 5.8 bln USD (-15.3%), herbicides for plant protection 0.8 bln USD (+ 120.6%), tiles for cermet tools 0.4 bln USD (-16.5%) and other products. The first three imported products account for 56.0% of total imports from Israel.
The most important exporters in the first four months of 2020 were: Philip Morris Operations (22.8%), Tigar Tires (13.9%), LPO Ada (13.5%), Sinterfuse (6.4%), Farmina Pet Foods (5.3%), BEL QISTAS (5.1%), Bov’s Export (4.3%), Monster Energy SER (3.9%), Laki doo, Arilje (2.6%), Gorenje, Valjevo (2.4%), Sojaprotein, Bečej (2.0%) and others, while the biggest importers were – Vlatacom Institute Belgrade (43.3%), Adama Srb (11.7%), Iscar Tools Belgrade (3.7%), YUMCO ad, Vranje (2.6%), Sinterfuse (2.2%), Virginia doo, Belgrade (2.0%) and others.
The bilateral economic cooperation between Israel and Serbia is strongly supported by the Commercial Department of the Embassy of Israel in Belgrade. It is under the auspices and assistance of this department that the main promotion of trade & business between Israel and Serbia takes place.
The department organises numerous interesting and useful networking events each year and provides services to create, support and boost strategic alliances, partnerships and joint ventures between businesses from Israel, as well as to encourage and facilitate investments from Serbia and Montenegro in Israel and Israeli companies.
Companies that are interested in cooperating with Israel and vice versa often contact the Department to get the information relating to various aspects of the business from a comprehensive database from various business sectors of both Israeli and Serbian business community. In recent years, the Economic Department’s activities have encouraged and facilitate investments in the following sectors and fields such as Agriculture and Agro-Technology, Food Industry, Telecommunication, Software, Finance and Bio-Technology. The Economic Department actively encourages business people from Serbia to be part of business delegations and attend trade fairs, exhibitions and other events taking place in Israel through direct mailing, press releases and personal contacts, promoting Israeli business and trade by outreaching business people and organizations from Serbia and informing them of commercial opportunities in Israel.
Israeli companies come here more often and are involved mainly in building and real-estate projects.
In 2019, the value of external trade amounted to 83.9 billion USD, of which Serbian exports amounted to 38.9 bln USD (an increase of 20.2% compared to 2018) and imports to 45.0 bln USD (an increase of 11.4%). Serbia recorded a 6.1-bln-USD deficit in trading with Israel while the export to import ratio stood at 86.4%.
Serbia mostly exported the following products to Israel (value in billion USD) in 2019 – cigarettes containing tobacco 6.6 bln USD (+ 84.1%), new pneumatic tires for cars 4.3 bln USD (+ 92.9%), other nickel products 3.4 bln USD (+ 6.7%), parts of turbojet or turboprop engines 2.5 bln USD (+ 21.0%), dog and cat food 2.3 bln USD (-11.0%), etc. The first five export products represent 49.1% of Serbian exports to Israel.
Serbia mostly imported the following products to Israel (value in billion USD) in 2019 – goods unclassified in the customs tariff – goods in storage 20.4 bln USD (+ 2.6%), medicines for retail 2.8 (+ 380.0%), printing machines 1.4 bln USD, other ADP machines, delivered as systems 1.3 bln USD (+ 900.0%), tiles for cermet tools 1.1 bln USD (-1.4%) and other products. The top five imported products account for 60.0% of total imports from Israel.
The most important exporters in 2019 were – Philip Morris Operations (17.1%), LPO Ada (15.5%), Tigar Tires (12.0%), Sinterfuse (6.3%), Farmina pet foods (6.2%), Bov’s Export (3.6%), Bel Qistas (3.4%), PC Center, Belgrade (3.3%) and others, while the biggest importers in 2019 were Vlatacom Institute Belgrade (40.9%), Actavis, Belgrade (6.3%), Fortuna Digital, Belgrade (4.3%), Iscar Tools Belgrade (3.6%), Adama SRB (3.1%), Telegroup (2.9%), Professional Printing Solutions, Belgrade (2.3%), Sinterfuse (1.8%), Unicom-Telecom (1.4%) and others.
(Data provided by the Serbian Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, Sector for Bilateral Economic Cooperation)