Serbia’s Top 10 Exports

Serbia’s Top 10 Exports

House in Serbian woods

A landlocked nation in southeastern Europe, the Republic of Serbia shipped US$17 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount reflects a 16.1% gain since 2013 and a 14.4% uptick from 2016 to 2017.

As of June 2018, Serbia’s exported goods were valued at $9.7 billion up 20.1% compared to the first 6 months of 2017.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Serbia’s exported goods plus services represent 49.4% of total Serbian economic output or Gross Domestic Product. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, Serbia’s shipments are highly concentrated with 91.2% arriving in fellow European countries. Another 5.8% go to Asia, 1.8% sent to North America and 0.9% delivered in Africa.

Given Serbia’s population of 7.1 million people, its total $17 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $2,400 for every resident in that country.

Serbia’s unemployment rate was 12.9% as of September 2017 down from 13.8% one year earlier, according to Trading Economics.

Serbia’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Serbian global shipments during 2017 at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Serbia.

Drilling down to 4-digit codes, Serbia’s most valuable exported goods are motor cars, insulated wire and cable, new rubber tires then electric motors or generators.

  1. Electrical machinery, equipment: US$2.1 billion (12.6% of total exports)
  2. Vehicles: $1.4 billion (8.3%)
  3. Machinery including computers: $1.1 billion (6.7%)
  4. Plastics, plastic articles: $838.9 million (4.9%)
  5. Rubber, rubber articles: $795.8 million (4.7%)
  6. Iron, steel: $748.7 million (4.4%)
  7. Fruits, nuts: $661.8 million (3.9%)
  8. Copper: $580.3 million (3.4%)
  9. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $527.1 million (3.1%)
  10. Articles of iron or steel: $473.7 million (2.8%)

Serbia’s top 10 exports accounted for 54.8% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Iron and steel was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up 57.3% in value from 2016 to 2017.

In second place for improving export sales was rubber and rubber articles which appreciated by 42.7%.

Serbian copper exports posted the third-fastest gain in value up 37.9%.

Only one top category declined year over year, namely the -8% setback for vehicles.


The following types of Serbian product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Fruits, nuts: US$448.3 million (Up by 7.8% since 2016)
  2. Rubber, rubber articles: $447.5 million (Up by 58.1%)
  3. Cereals: $361.1 million (Down by -25.8%)
  4. Electrical machinery, equipment: $319.3 million (Up by 1.8%)
  5. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $290.9 million (Up by 26.3%)
  6. Copper: $283.5 million (Up by 19.9%)
  7. Furniture, bedding, lighting , signs, prefab buildings: $268.7 million (Up by 9.6%)
  8. Iron, steel: $209.2 million (Up by 128.5%)
  9. Footwear: $193.1 million (Up by 16.8%)
  10. Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $124.9 million (Down by -12.8%)

Serbia has highly positive net exports in the international trade of frozen fruits including raspberries, cherries and strawberries. In turn, these cashflows indicate Serbia’s strong competitive advantages under the fruits and nuts product category.


Overall Serbia incurred a -$5.2 billion trade deficit in 2017, up 18.6% from the -$4.4 billion in red ink for 2016.

As of June 2018, Serbia’s trade deficit stood at -$3 billion up 28.5% compared to the first 6 months of 2017.

Below are exports from Serbia that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Serbia’s goods trail Serbian importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: -US$1.9 billion (Up by 42.2% since 2016)
  2. Machinery including computers: -$678.5 million (Up by 40.6%)
  3. Pharmaceuticals: -$476.6 million (Up by 27.5%)
  4. Plastics, plastic articles: -$372.2 million (Up by 29.9%)
  5. Ores, slag, ash: -$330.6 million (Up by 57.1%)
  6. Vehicles: -$234.9 million (Up by 9.1%)
  7. Other chemical goods: -$202.8 million (Down by -2%)
  8. Perfumes, cosmetics: -$163.9 million (Up by 12.5%)
  9. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$157.4 million (Up by 19.6%)
  10. Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: -$99.1 million (Down by -2.3%)

Serbia has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for products related to mineral fuels including oil, petroleum gases and coke or semi-coke.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Serbia’s competitive disadvantages in the international energy market, but also represent key opportunities for Serbia to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations.


Serbian Export Companies

Given that Serbia is an emerging economy, it should come as no surprise that not one Serbian corporation appears on the Forbes Global 2000 list.

Wikipedia does outline some Serbian export companies. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Estonia Piano Factory (pianos)
  • Liviko (vodka, other alcoholic beverages)
  • Narva Oil Plant (shale oil)
  • Rakvere Lihakombinaat (meat products)
  • Rexer Ltd (automobiles)
  • Saku Brewery (beer, cider, soft drinks, water)
  • Tartu Mill AS (grains)
  • Tondi Elektroonika (hearing aids)

Serbia’s capital city is Belgrade.

See also Top EU Export Countries and Serbia’s Top 10 Imports

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on September 4, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on September 4, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on September 4, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on September 4, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Serbia. Accessed on September 4, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on September 4, 2018