CEFTA at the Balkan Economic Forum 2022

November 18, 2022

Emir Djikic: Regional cooperation is a not a myth, but our reality

Skopje, 18 November 2022 – Mr. Emir Djikic, Director of the CEFTA Secretariat was one of the key speakers at the first panel at the first Balkan Economic Forum held today in Skopje. He presented the key CEFTA achievements, focusing on the importance the regional cooperation has in overcoming the economic crises. He emphasized that the stronger and more institutionalize the cooperation is, the more efficient is the response to the crisis would be.

„Regional cooperation is a not a myth, but our reality. It is our way to secure a place under the EU umbrella. We should not close eyes in front of the challenges, they exist. However, we should not either forget what we have achieved together. Looking the regional cooperation through the CEFTA eyes, trade increased between 74% and 127%, trade in goods and services are liberalized and further are being facilitated, areas of cooperation keep expanding, digitalization of trade is taking its path,“ said Mr. Djikic enumerating a series оf achievements that CEFTA managed to accomplished it, despite the challenges.

Referring to the Common Regional Market, Mr. Djikic talked about the importance of creating the new trade opportunities as a way to address the consequences of the crises. He pointed out the importance of e-commerce as a sales channel and provider of income for companies and a significant element of the growth. Due to its high potential to boost economic growth, digital transformation and the benefits it brings to the Western Balkans economies, the full potential of e-commerce is yet to be exploited.  As part of the CRM agenda, CEFTA has been working on three new Joint Committee Decisions awaiting adoption that will support the creation of CEFTA market worth 1 billion euro, with of 20 million customers.

„Despite the challenges, the new policies that would create more trade opportunities are set up but awaiting the CEFTA Parties to renew their commitment made in the Common Regional Market Action Plan“ said the Director of the CEFTA Secretariat and added: „ We should not miss the potential that lies ahead of us, potential that could help us address the economic challenges and accelerate the recovery. What we need is to further enhance the trust among us to reach the 6.7% additional GDP increase.“

Apart from the ecommerce, CEFTA is working on simplifying the customs procedures and improving the electronic data exchange, getting closer to the paperless trade. Decision on the recognition of AEOS Programmes has been finalized. Once adopted, it would enable trustworthy CEFTA companies, that have already gained the AEO status, to export under simplified customs procedures. Also, communications between customs administrations and different agencies involved in clearance of goods in the region has been upgraded. In practice, SEED and SEED+ contribute to significant reduction of the waiting times at crossing points, simplification of procedure and reduction of costs Mr. Djikic reminded of the success of an extension of Green Lanes with Greece and Blue Lanes with Italy which would not be possible without CEFTA’s partnership with the Transport Community and the support of RCC and the European Commission.

The Balkan Economic Forum is an independent, non-profit, inclusive organization, which seeks to create and execute new methods and creative solutions to the Balkan nations’ present economic issues in order to promote economic growth, regional collaboration, peace, and security. The Balkan Economic Forum brings together business executives, international leaders, government officials, academics, students, and financial institutions.

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