CEFTA: Turning Challenges into Opportunities

December 17, 2019

The annual CEFTA WEEK, held always in the capital of the rotating CEFTA Chair-in-Office is being hosted by Tirana this week. The Central European Free Trade Agreement 2006 (CEFTA) was signed in December that year aiming to liberalise and further facilitate trade among the Parties.

The central event of this CEFTA WEEK will be tomorrow’s (18/12/2019) one day conference „Turning challenges into opportunities“ with four panel discussions: “Regional Economic Integration Today and Tomorrow”, “Boosting regional trade: Progress and next steps”, “Liberalisation of Trade in Services – A New Framework” and “CEFTA 2020: “A shared vision towards the future”.

The conference, expected to be opened by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, will be a further step towards boosting trade and trade in services between the Parties themselves, their economies and the EU and global markets. Full enforcement of the CEFTA would provide a framework for the small-capacity economies to strengthen the competitiveness of products from the CEFTA region. Young entrepreneurs and start up business will be able to offer their products not to one, but to seven markets and beyond.

The CEFTA Parties are expected to adopt a series of documents that have already been agreed upon on a technical level and which are all meant to contribute to further liberalisation of regional trade and trade in services and to boost the investment climate. They are also a part of the WB6 EU accession road since they motivate the Parties to speed up the harmonisation of their regulation with the EU one.

Among the documents prepared for the CEFTA Joint Committee’s approval tomorrow is the Additional Protocol 6 on Trade in Services which is very important for companies and organisations because it would open up all the seven markets for trade in services and opens possibilities for further economic integration. It would enable mutual recognition of specific licences, professional qualifications, ease e-commerce etc.

The CEFTA Customs Risk Management Strategy for 2020-2024 will offer a basis and tools for enhancing trust between the Parties and increase the efficiency of customs procedures, lowering the time necessary to finalise them and thereby making the products cheaper.

Also among the documents which have been agreed upon on a technical level is the Decision on establishing the validation procedure for the mutual recognition of CEFTA Parties’ national Authorised Economic Operators’ Programmes with regard to the safety and security (AEOS).

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