CEFTA implementation begins

Prishtinë/Vienna, 27 July 2007 (ECIKS) – The Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) which includes Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Moldova entered into force as of Thursday, with some of the countries yet to ratify the deal later this year.

Croatia is expected to ratify the CEFTA agreement in August, and Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are foreseen to do the same during September 2007.

CEFTA will officially take effect by the end of the year, and a complete liberalization of trade between the countries involved in the agreement should be achieved by 2010. The new wave of expansion of CEFTA includes also some fresh aspects, such are services exchange, public procurement and intellectual property rights.

CEFTA was established by Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia in 1991. Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Macedonia joined CEFTA later on. Each participating state drops out of the CEFTA once it joins the European Union.

Through CEFTA, participating countries hoped to mobilize efforts to integrate Western European institutions and through this, to join European political, economic, security and legal systems, thereby consolidating democracy and free-market economy.