Arms Trade In Serbia

How to export weapons and military equipment from Serbia

The Serbian military industry has positioned itself on the world map with competitive prices and with a respectable price-quality ratio. It is especially important for potential purchasers that the weapons and military equipment (“WME”) production regulations in Serbia are harmonized with the EU regulations (Common position 944/2008), which achieves systems of prior and subsequent control of manufacturers compliance with prescribed quality levels of production and issuing production permits.

Regarding that, and in connection with multilateral agreements such as the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), CWC, CCW and SALW, Republic of Serbia has developed a clear system of state control of international traffic of WME produced by domestic manufacturers, and on the basis of which the Law on Production and Trade of Arms and Military Equipment („Law“) was passed as a key local regulation.

What is considered an WME in Serbia?

WME in Serbia are classified by the National Weapons and Military Equipment Checklist („NWMEC“), a document that is passed by The Government of the Republic of Serbia once a year. The NWMEC is harmonized with the relevant checklist of the European Union. Only products that are classified by NWMEC as WME are subjects to international trade and export state control rules prescribed by the Law and the following by-laws.

Basics of the state export control system

Export of WME, as well as the provision of brokerage services and technical assistance in this area are performed in three phases:

  1. Registration of persons (legal entities and entrepreneurs) for the performance of export of WME;
  2. Issuance of licenses for each individual job of export of WME;
  3. Supervision and control of the performance of the above tasks.

For registration, issuing licenses and supervision procedures, the Ministry of Trade is in charge.

How export really works?

The exporter must therefore be registered with the Ministry of Trade register of WME exporters (even the manufacturer). Legal entity or an entrepreneur, in addition to the prescribed documents and data submitted for registration, must meet special conditions refered to security checks, which are performed by the competent security services, and the applicant gives his consent for them.

If this (basic) condition is met, an application for an individual job of export license („License“) can be submitted together with the prescribed documentation by the Law.

The License is individual, which means that it is issued to one exporter and covers exports to one end user, and may contain one or more WME listed on NWMEC.

In the procedure of deciding on a specific request, the Ministry of Trade obtains the consent of the ministry in charge of foreign affairs, the ministry in charge of defense, the ministry in charge of internal affairs and the state administration body in charge of national security in accordance with the Law.

Pursuant to those provisions, the Ministry of Trade may, depending on the type of WME to which the submited request relates, request the opinion of other ministries, special organizations and agencies competent in the relevant field. If one of the mentioned bodies does not give its consent, the Government decides on the issuance of the License.

The Law also envisages the possibility of verifying the end-user certificate, which is performed by the ministry in charge of foreign affairs, at the request of the bodies participating in the permitting procedure.

The deadline for deciding on the submitted request is 30 days from the day of the duly submitted request.

All decisions made on the basis of submitted requests for the issuance of Licenses are final, and the Republic of Serbia is not responsible for possible damage caused by the adoption of these decisions.

The License is valid for up to one year. There is a possibility of issuing an individual License for a period longer than one year, but not longer than the agreed deadline for completion of work. In that case, the licensee is obliged to submit reports on the realization of the work at least once a year.

After obtaining a License, the export procedure can take it’s full effect and get executed.

Supervision of WME export

The Ministry of Trade supervises the export of WME, in cooperation with the Ministry of Defense, ministry in charge of foreign affairs, the ministry in charge of defense, the ministry in charge of internal affairs and the state administration body in charge of national security. If necessary, the Ministry cooperates with other ministries, agencies and special organizations competent in the relevant field.

The customs authorities, security service bodies and competent inspection bodies shall, within the scope of their powers, exercise constant control over the performance of the aforementioned tasks.

Customs control is performed by the Customs Administration and quarterly notification of the Ministry of Trade on the execution of issued Licenses.

Pursuant to the Law, during the customs control of  export of WME, the customs authorities may, within their competences due to discrepancies between the export documentation and the License, suspend the procedure of export of the WME and inform the Ministry of Trade.