Serbia-EU trade liberalization process ends

BELGRADE -- Serbia's six-year-long trade liberalization with the EU, based on the Stabilization and Accession Agreement between the EU and Serbia, expired on Wednesday.

(Beta/AP, file)
(Beta/AP, file)

This means that until Serbia joins the EU, the average tariff protection regarding import of goods from eurozone countries will be 0.99 percent, while imports of 95.1 percent of goods falling under the customs tariff will be fully liberalized.

"In this way, Serbia has created an orderly and predictable regime of trade relations with the EU, something that will help improve the business climate and opportunities for investment in Serbia," the government’s European Integration Office said.

A full liberalization will not be applied to strategic agricultural products and they will keep relevant customs tariff protections until Serbia joins the EU, a statement said.

The EU has unilaterally liberalized imports of goods from Serbia as early as in 2000, and a contractual trade liberalization started with the beginning of the implementation of the Interim Trade Agreement, which is part of the SAA, in 2009.

The EU is Serbia’s most important trading partner, as 60 percent of Serbia’s foreign trade is done with the EU, which receives 61 percent of Serbia’s exports and is also Serbia’s biggest investment partner.

Serbia constantly posts growth when it comes to exporting to the EU market. Its export to import ratio in trade with the EU was 44.4 percent in 2008, and over the first ten months of 2013, it was over 72 percent.

This indicates that the trade deficit with the EU was reduced by 27 percent compared to the same period last year.

Starting from the beginning of the implementation of the Agreement and ending with October 2013, total revenues from preferential exports to the EU the market by Serbian businessmen amounted to over EUR 2.7 billion.

At the same time, in the period from January 1, 2009 until October 2013, total revenues earned by European exporters through exports to the Serbian market amounted to EUR 1.1 billion.