Professional qualifications

Professional qualifications generally refer to training requirements needed for one to be allowed to practice a profession. For example, doctors, civil engineers or lawyers around the world commonly have to first demonstrate required knowledge before they are allowed to supply their service. General idea behind these rules is to ensure quality of service in important areas of life such as health, housing, or justice.

And while they bring certain benefits, professional qualifications can act as trade barrier by restricting access for suppliers coming from other markets. In other words, a person who wants to do business in the multiple CEFTA markets could face multiple qualification requirements. This may involve lengthy and costly procedures, which can defer professionals from even trying to venture out. As a result, the consumers are left with limited choice and businesses with limited opportunities.

To address this, Additional Protocol 6 already provides minimum regulatory standards to ensure that professional rules are administered in a reasonable, objective, and impartial manner (article 10). Moreover, it addresses recognition of professional qualification for which special agreements or arrangement within CEFTA are announced (article 11). Accordingly, the Joint Committee instructed the Subcommittee on Trade in Services to develop disciplines for establishment of the general system of recognition for a pilot profession (Sarajevo 2020 Ministerial Conclusions).

When adopted, these disciplines will provide for one set of rules to be applied across different sectors which will enable quick and efficient EU compliant procedures for service suppliers and tools and mechanisms for regulators to secure needed level of quality of service. This system should apply to professionals who only temporarily provide service in other CEFTA markets, as well as when they seek permanent settling down their commercial activities. Initially, it would apply only to limited number of services with a view to expanding to other regulated professions covered by general system in the EU.

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