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Ten years of CEFTA: Powerful training ground for participation in the EU accession process

SARAJEVO – A conference “BiH – ten years of implementation of CEFTA 2006“, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the implementation of the CEFTA in BiH, was held on 6 September in Sarajevo, announced the Delegation of the EU to BiH.

Conference was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations in cooperation with the European Union funded project “Caopacity Building for Trade Policies and Analysis in BiH”.

Head of Political and Economic Section in the EU Delegation to BiH Jan Snaidauf underlined the EU support for Central European Free Trade Agreement and its importance for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“The EU has strongly supported CEFTA’s creation and nowadays supports its operations, as CEFTA is a poweful training ground for participation in the EU accesion process. Fully open CEFTA markets pave the way for a better performance in trade with the EU”, said Snaidauf.

He added that the EU is BiH’s largest trading partner with 70 percent of the country’s trade taking place with the EU.

Šarović: Next steps elimination of non-tariff barriers and trade in services

Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BiH Mirko Šarović noted that the event is an anniversary of the important regional agreement, being an exellent platform for the region and BiH’s path toward the EU.

“During the ten years we have managed to liberalise the market of countries that belong to the CEFTA zone. In a way, this is a scecific part of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, or its sequel”, Šarović concluded.

Introducing the next steps within CEFTA, Šarović mentioned the elimination of non-tariff barriers and trade in services as the focus of interest in the future period.

Umut Ergezer, Acting Director of the CEFTA Secretariat welcomed the development of CEFTA throughout the years.

“Ten years ago CEFTA parties were discussing simple tasks, and now they are discussing how to take actions more than the ‘acquis’ alliance requires as well as how certain activities can be done, more than the WTO requires“, Ergezer noted.

The Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) 2006 is a single free trade agreement Current members are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, F.Y.R. Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, and Kosovo. Its main objectives are, inter alia, to expand trade in goods and services and foster investment by means of fair, stable and predictable rules, to eliminate barriers to trade between the Parties, to provide appropriate protection of intellectual property rights in accordance with international standards and to harmonise provisions on modern trade policy issues such as trade in services, investment, competition rules, procurement and state aid.

The project “Capacity Building for Trade Policies and Analysis” is funded by the EU through the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) in the amount of 1,129,850.00 euro. The purpose of this project is to support the BiH Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations and related institutions in developing its institutional capacity related to the successful implementation of the SAA, WTO, CEFTA, EFTA and further trade negotiations.

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