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Serbia Takes Helm of Central European Free Trade Agreement for 2024

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Serbia began its year-long presidency of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) on 1st January. 

The Serbian Government’s main goals for 2024 include reinforcing and enhancing the enforcement of the agreement, simplifying the trade of goods and services among member countries, and promoting digital advancements.

Focused initiatives will include conducting joint customs operations, sharing data, striving for mutual recognition of Authorized Economic Operator programs between CEFTA nations, developing e-commerce, and facilitating the transport of fruits and vegetables.

Other priorities are aimed at decreasing the costs and time associated with border trade, recognizing professional qualifications, and completing a new additional protocol for CEFTA that addresses dispute resolution.

Serbia’s involvement in CEFTA, aligned with European Union standards and principles, offers better market access, fewer trade barriers, and streamlined regional business operations.

The CEFTA market ranks as Serbia’s second most significant trading partner after the EU, in terms of trade volume, exports, and imports.

By November 2023, Serbia’s trade with CEFTA nations exceeded 5.5 billion euros, with a trade surplus of over 2.5 billion euros, primarily from exports like electricity, grains and their derivatives, oil and petroleum products, beverages, and road vehicles. The export to import coverage ratio stood at 260.6%.

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CEFTA encompasses Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, and the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo as per UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

Previous members, now part of the European Union, include Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, and Croatia.

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