21 Apr 2021

Serbia and UK sign historic trade and cooperation agreement

A ground-breaking Partnership, Trade, and Cooperation Agreement between the UK and Serbia was signed in Belgrade on Monday. The comprehensive document sets a new legal basis for the development of bilateral trade, as it effectively replaces Serbia’s Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU and ensures continuity in preferential trade between the two countries after January 1, 2021, when the UK formally withdrew from the European Union.

As it comes into force, the Agreement will reduce the added complexity and expenses businesses have had to face since the beginning of this year, with customs duties of up to 20% being introduced. This has significantly affected both Serbian exporters and more than 400 UK-owned businesses, with more than 22,000 employees, operating in Serbia, as well as the sales of many well-known British brands in the country.

The Agreement is expected to re-establish previous levels of trade liberalization between the two countries and bring back certainty to bilateral trade, aimed to reach nearly EUR 800 million, reducing costs, creating new jobs, and benefiting consumers in both countries.

The Agreement also aims to expand on existing economic cooperation and encourages further UK investment in Serbia. It also defines the key directions of future relations between the two countries through the advancement of economic, political, and cultural ties.

The Agreement has entered parliamentary processes in both countries and is expected to come into effect in several weeks.

The first trade agreement between the two countries was signed in 1879.