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Selling and Buying

In this page: Market Access Procedures | Reaching the Consumers | Distributing a Product | Organizing Goods Transport | Identifying a Supplier


Market Access Procedures

Main International Economic Cooperation
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a member of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) and has signed a Free Trade Agreement with Turkey. The Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between the EU and Bosnia and Herzegovina went into effect on 1 June 2015. The SAA Agreement is a commitment to further the relationship between the EU and Bosnia and Herzegovina and will complement the existing interim trade agreement. Bosnia and Herzegovina also has preferential regimes with the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Norway, Russia, Japan and Canada.
Non Tariff Barriers
In moving forward to gain membership into the WTO and the EU, the Bosnian Government has taken significant steps to liberalise its trade policy. This includes the elimination of import quotas, reduction of import licensing and the reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers. There is no longer a need for special approval or administrative procedures for conducting re-export transactions. However, there are still barriers to entry with regards to the manufacturing and exporting of arms.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
Import customs rates according to the customs tariffs are: 0%, 5%, 10% and 15%, while 1% of customs value is paid for the purpose of customs registration. The average customs tariff is 1.09 according to the World Bank. This is significantly lower than most of the world. The variation of custom tariffs is dependent on the product. The administration in charge of customs duty is the Indirect Taxation Authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Customs Classification
Bosnia and Herzegovina passed the 2015 Customs Tariff to harmonise its customs classification with the EU to comply with its ratification of the Stabilisation and Accession Agreement.
Import Procedures
To import a good the following documents are required:

-Customs declaration in one of the three official languages (Bosnian, Serbian, or Croatian)
-Relevant documents such as an invoice, shipping documents and quality control certificates
-Importer is required to obtain a guarantee covering the customs duty with the Customs Authority in the form of a cash deposit or a bank guarantee

Equipment being imported as part of share capital is exempt from paying customs duties. This exemption does not refer to passenger vehicles or slot and gambling machines. In order to enjoy this benefit, the foreign investor should submit a written request for exemption from paying import duties to the competent customs authority (according to the location of the company) with additional documentation. 

Importing Samples
Samples of goods of negligible value are free of customs.
For Further Information
Indirect Taxation Authority (ITA) of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Learn more about Traders, Agents in Bosnia and Herzegovina on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

Reaching the Consumers

Marketing opportunities

Consumer Behaviour
After the financial crisis, the country was hit heavily by increasing public debt, the reduction of foreign direct investment and a higher CPI cost. The advertising industry felt the burden, as revenue in the country significantly dropped. Regardless, the number of media outlets remained almost the same. The major marketing technique in the country is direct-response marketing. However, as credit cards become more prevalent, there is a surge in targeting consumers using catalogue sales, direct response advertising such as TV, radio, print media and online. E-commerce is not well developed, as citizens and businesspeople generally are not inclined to shop or conduct business on the internet.
Most buyers prefer to pay in monthly installments, even for low-priced goods. In selling capital goods, customer service and sales service are essential in terms of maintenance and training. With regards to consumer goods, consumers value national goods, and successful products focus on creating constant contact with consumers and aggressive market promotion.
Consumer Profile and Purchasing Power
The per capita income in the country is significantly less than in other European countries. Unemployment remains high, including among heads of households, while rural household income is low. These factors limit growth potential of certain markets and increase price sensitivity. The CPI or cost of items has been on the rise since the global recession and is now significantly higher than it was in 2005 (nevertheless, the price level of goods and services in Bosnia and Herzegovina is relatively low due to the low cost of labor). The Bosnian consumer is mainly focused on buying basic commodities. The informal sector is still considered to be substantial. However, with Bosnia and Herzegovina's path towards EU accession, it is possible that the movement of goods between the EU and the country will rise significantly.

The median age in Bosnia and Herzegovina is 41.7 years. The population is currently declining and ageing, increasing the number of single-person households, although couple-with-children households remain dominant. Urbanization is continuing, with over 39.8% of the population now living in urban areas. Over 91% of the population has access to a mobile phone.

Consumers Associations
Consumers International , list of consumer associations in Bosnia and Herzegovina (p. 15)
Main Advertising Agencies
Via Media
M.I.T.A Group (Publicis)

Distributing a Product

Evolution of the Sector
As Bosnia and Herzegovina is made up of two separate entities, often manufactures have developed several distribution channels to cover both the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Srpska. There are three main types of distribution channels: one for consumer goods, that goes from producer to wholesale to retailer to consumer; one for industrial goods, that goes from producer to industrial user; and one for services, that goes from service provider to consumer. Wholesalers are often used in Bosnia and Herzegovina to help import and distribute goods, as they can assist with the entire import and sales process.

Retailers are also starting to play a significant role as large retailers progressively enter the market, such as Konzum, Interex, MIMS group, Tropic Centar and Bingo. According to Euromonitor International's report on retailing in Bosnia-Herzegovina (January 2017), a recent trend in the non-grocery retail sector is the shift from commercial streets to shopping centres, with the introduction of shopping malls. Another trends is that international retailers, discouraged by increasing consumer price-sensitivity, are leaving the grocery market, but are increasingly turning to the less-mature non-grocery sector, which offers higher growth potential. Grocery retailers are expected to expand into non-grocery product retailing, and Internet retailing is the format with strongest growth potential.

Market Shares
The market share of small (individual) retailers have fallen since the introduction of larger retailers. The biggest two retailers in Bosnia and Herzegovina are the domestic Bingo and regional Konzum, both of which have led consolidation in the grocery sector. Their respective values shares among grocery retailers were 17% and 16% in 2016. Among non-grocery retailers, Phoenix, dm-Drogerie Markt and Economic led the pack in 2016, with respective value shares of 6%, 4% and 4%. Non-store retailing (e.g. e-commerce, mail-order) in 2016 was led by Avon Cosmetics BiH, Studio Moderna and Oriflame Kozmetika, with respective value shares of 20%, 14% and 9%. (Source: Euromonitor International, January 2017)

Identifying a Supplier

Type of Production
Main industries in Bosnia and Herzegovina include metal production, car-making , textile , tobacco and furniture. After the global crisis, the industry sector suffered significantly and is only now showing small signs of recovery. Other growing industries are the wood industry, transport sector, energy sector, food processing and tourism.

Business Directories

Multi-sector Directories
Komorars - Business directory of all companies in Srpska.
Trade Agencies and Their Representations Abroad
Chamber of Commerce and industry of Republic of Srpska
Chamber of Economy of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (in Bosnian)
Foreign Trade Chamber of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Enterprises Federation
List of Different Trade Associations within the country
APBiH (Employers' Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Learn more about Service Providers in Bosnia and Herzegovina on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.


Learn more about Sales in Bosnia and Herzegovina on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Last Updates: June 2018