The start of the negotiations about Chapter 29 will not change Serbia’s customs and trading policy, and all the existing treaties, which Serbia has concluded with other countries, will remain in force.
Only when Serbia becomes a full-fledged member of the EU, it will have to adhere to all the customs and trade regulation that all other EU countries are abiding by.
“There is a challenge in the fact that Serbia has to declare all the free trade treaties (CEFTA, EFTA, Turkey, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan) null and void before it joins the EU”, the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications says.
Considering that the EU has concluded bilateral treaties with all CEFTA members, once Serbia joins the EU, the Union will conclude additional protocols in order for Serbia to maintain its privileged status in trading with individual CEFTA members. EFTA, on the other hand, is a part of the European Economic Area, and in that context, there will be no changes for Serbia once it joins the Union. Also, since Turkey is in customs union with the EU relating to industrial products, no changes are expected there too, but there could be changes made when it comes to the treaty that covers agricultural products.
“Once we join the EU, the free trade agreements with Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus won’t be in force any longer. Considering that the EU is our biggest external trade partner, and that Serbia sells 65% of its products to the Union, once the CEFTA countries join too, that percentage will go up to 85%”, the Ministry says.
Other countries, that Serbia has concluded similar treaties with, have only a 7% share in the Serbian export. The Ministry underlines that, when we take this into consideration, the benefits from joining the EU become much bigger compared to the loss incurred due to the breaking off the free trade agreements with any other export partners of Serbia.
After joining the EU, Serbia will be allowed to use the preferential and privileged access to the markets with which the EU has already concluded free trade agreements like South Korea, Chile, Mexico, the South Mediterranean countries, the Republic of South Africa, Singapore and others. There are also special benefits when it comes to trading with the countries that the EU is currently negotiating with (with the view of concluding free trade agreements), and these are the USA, Japan, India and the Gulf countries.
This post is also available in: Italiano