EU To Extend Trade Preferences For West Balkans
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
The European Commission on February 22 adopted a proposal to extend the autonomous
trade preferences which the European Union (EU) grants to Western Balkan countries,
The trade preferences were first introduced in 2000 on a bilateral basis to
support economic integration with the EU and hence foster political stability
and economic progress in the entire region. The Commissionís latest decision
will ensure that the Western Balkan economies continue to benefit from unlimited
duty free access to the EU market for nearly all products originating in these
countries and territories.
The beneficiaries are participants of the EU Stabilization and Association
process, namely Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic
of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and the customs territory of Kosovo. The Stabilization
and Association process aims at the eventual accession of the Western Balkans
to the EU.
The trade preferences were due to expire at the end of 2010, but due to the negative
repercussions on the nationís of their withdrawal, the Commission has
decided to extend the preferential regime until December 31, 2015.
The Regulation will be discussed by the Council and European Parliament under
the ordinary legislative procedure (co-decision). It is expected to enter into
force on January 1, 2011.