Thursday, May 23, 2013

Kirby: IT companies know Serbia is serious

BELGRADE - The chief result of the visit by Serbia's Prime Minister Ivica Dacic to U.S. IT companies is that they now know Serbia is serious in its attempt to attract their investments, U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Michael Kirby has said. Not every country sends its prime minister to their headquarters, so it is a strong signal and they will now consider the option of expanding to Serbia, Kirby told the daily Danas after returning from the U.S., where he accompanied Dacic on his visit. 

 The visit had several important results, because the delegation met with seriuos people and serious companies, like Microsoft head Steve Ballmer and Oracle President Safra Catz, and they in turn met a prime minister, Kirby noted. It will make them seriously consider Serbia as a possible destination for investment when thinking about expansion, Kirby pointed out, adding that a competent workforce is necessary for those companies to really come to Serbia. 

 He thinks Serbia probably has competent people who need a little additional training. Some of those serious companies already have Serbian employees, he remarked. That proves there are people here, or at least there were, who are very competent, but Serbia has to conduct some reforms, including changes to the labour law, he stressed. U.S. companies have not taken a good look at the Serbian market, but they will and they will notice that it is nearly impossible to fire someone here, Kirby stated in reference to the Serbian law on labour. Political risks are smaller than before, and Serbia is seen differently now compared to 15-20 years ago, the ambassador said. 

 There is also the agreement with Kosovo, and the next step is its implementation, he stated. It all reduces the political risk, Kirby said, adding there was growing belief Serbia would get the EU accession date. Photo Tanjug, D. Peternek (archive)

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