October 28, 2009   CEFTA WEEK 2009


Chamber of Commerce of Montenegro hosted the CEFTA WEEK 2009 on October 27-28, 2009, which also included CEFTA FORUM OF CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE and seminar on TRADE AS AN INSTRUMENT OF ECONOMIC GROWTH AND COMPETITIVENESS. The event was an exceptional opportunity for reviewing the results and impact of implementation of the CEFTA 2006 Agreement on companies and also for discussion about bilateral problems. At the same time, there was a meeting of the presidents of chambers of commerce from former Yugoslav republics, signatories of the CEFTA 2006 Agreement.

The Free Trade Agreement CEFTA 2006 was signed on December 19, 2006 in Bucharest and entered into force on July 26, 2007 for five countries: Albania, Montenegro, FRY Macedonia, Moldova, and UNMiK / Kosovo; on August 22, 2007 they were joined by Croatia, on September 24 by Serbia, and November 22 by Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Presidency of CEFTA 2006 is based on a rotating principle and lasts for one calendar year. FRY Macedonia was the first country to hold the presidency in 2007, Moldova was the next one in 2008, and Montenegro in 2009. The Republic of Serbia will take over the presidency on January 2010, which will be rather a challenge in view of the defined priorities:

-       creating the conditions for liberalization of services

-       improvement of investment climate

-       review of legislation regulating public procurement

-       fair competition rules and practice

The two-day conference CEFTA WEEK 2009 started with the workshop on CEFTA AND INVESTMENT CLIMATE. Each country that signed the Agreement presented the experiences, benefits, and problems encountered by their respective companies during implementation of the Agreement so far. The problems mostly relate to origin of goods, service sector, intellectual property, settlement of disputes, non-customs barriers. Therefore, solution is the existence of a single market and CEFTA Agreement is in fact the step before the EU.

The seminar on trade as an instrument of economic growth and competitiveness opened the second day of the conference. The participants agreed that there was a continuous activity at all levels of economy and also between the academic institutions – universities from CEFTA countries which created the regional academic network for processing of statistical data about trade between the CEFTA countries. The mission of the Network is as follows:

1.      to improve quality of statistical data

2.      further liberalization of trade

3.      to attract foreign direct investments

4.      role of CEFTA in negotiations with the EU and WTO