Serbia moving ahead towards trade liberalization with EU? South-East Europe Briefing, March 2, 2010
An Interim Agreement on Trade and Trade related aspects (ITA), signed between the European Community and Serbia in April 2008, entered into force on February 1, 2010. This ITA, as a part of the Stabilization and Association Agreement, “establishes a bilateral free trade area over a period lasting a maximum of six years starting from the entry into force of this Agreement in accordance with the provisions of this Agreement and in conformity with those of the GATT 1994 and the WTO”.
The ITA, signed in April 2008, entered into force in February 2010 after the EU unblocked the application of this agreement after Serbia proved its cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Serbia is following Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM, entered into force in June 2001), Albania (entered into force in December 2006 and replaced by SAA Agreement), Bosnia Herzegovina (entered into force on 1 July 2008 and not yet superseded), and Montenegro (entered into force on 1 January 2008 and not yet superseded by SAA Agreement). Except Kosovo, Serbia was the last country of the region expecting the ITA to enter into force. This Interim Trade Agreement covers the trade and trade-related parts of the SAA. It focuses on liberalizing trade in goods, aligning rules on EU practice.
According to Mr. Degert’s declaration, chief of the EU Delegation in Serbia, this agreement will “contribute to the predictability of business operation conditions, companies’ competitiveness and the equalizing of conditions for all markets participants”. Since its signature in April 2008, the ITA was implemented unilaterally by Serbia. In this way, Serbia proved its bona fide will to be closer to the EU.