Shopping in BiH

Border cities in this country are experiencing a greater influx of citizens from neighboring countries, such as Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, who come here during the weekend for shopping at discounted prices for goods and services, writes ‘Nezavisne Novine’.

People buy things from food, to furniture, appliances, clothes and toys. One of the biggest reasons for shopping in BiH is the refund of value added tax, which is charged at a flat rate of 17 percent.

In addition, people from neighboring countries come to BiH border towns to buy alcohol, tobacco and fuel, even if there is no refund of tax.

The savings, however, are not negligible because of the tax refunds to foreign residents, and goods and items in this country are cheaper. So, spending 100 KM on something means a savings of around 20 KM.

As an example, most of the foreigners who come to Trebinje are from Dubrovnik and Herceg Novi, as well as people from Kotor, Nikšić and Podgorica.

Besides Herzegovina, during the weekend people from Slavonski Brod travel through the Sava in Brod with Croatian license plates from various cities because they want to shop in BiH shopping centers.

The same situation is in Gradiška where many Croatian citizens frequent the local shopping centers. Citizens also visit Bijelina from Serbia, who come for the discounted prices for household items, food and fuel that is cheaper. Traders from Gorica near Grude are happy because people from Croatia arrive, as well as in Orašje, Bihać and Neum because they accept customers from Croatia.

Dragovan Petrović, the Secretary of the RS Consumer Movement, said that this trend has been present for years, and in these cases customers from neighboring countries buy goods that is around 17 percent cheaper.

He stated that there is an increase in the export of certain BiH goods is increasing.

All of this is confirmed by the data from the Indirect Taxation Authority (UIO) of BiH, which shows that foreigners last year filed around 165.000 requests for a refund on tax worth around 7.5 million KM. The data show that border crossings in which the most amount of goods bought in BiH were Orašje, Gorica, Gradiška, Šamac, Rača, Pavlovića most, Brčko and Uvac.

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