Serbia is a landlocked, Balkan nation that shares borders with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Romania. A reliance upon the import of energy and advanced manufacturing products, together with volatile demand for its chief exports, which include metals, food products, and chemicals, has resulted in a substantial trade deficit. Moreover, exports are heavily concentrated in European and Western Balkan markets, exposing Serbia to the effects of regional economic and political fluctuations.
Although Serbia’s lack of WTO membership has hindered its ability to access alternative markets, it has engaged in a number of trade agreements, including the Central European Free Trade Agreement, in order to diversify risk. While Serbia has the potential to leverage its strategic location to become a hub of Central European trade, competitiveness is still hampered by limited financial access, underdeveloped transport and energy infrastructure, and a cumbersome business environment.