Prishtinë, Feb 20, 2006 – Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) have initialled the Interim Free Trade Agreement. The UNMIK/PISG delegation met their counterparts from Sarajevo at the 21st Stability Pact Trade Working Group Meeting this week in Berlin. The Agreement was initiated on the margins of the meeting by the heads of the two negotiation teams, Andreas Wittkowsky, head of Economic Policy Office in UNMIK’s EU Pillar and Sabrija Serifovic, Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, BiH.
It will now be submitted to the BiH Council of Ministers for approval. The signature is foreseen in March. The FTA could then be preliminarily applied as of 1 April 2006. This will be the third Free Trade Agreement for Kosovo: In 2003, Kosovo and Albania signed the first FTA. Last year Kosovo and FYR Macedonia concluded an FTA, which fully entered into force following the ratification of the Macedonian Parliament in January 2006.
The Stability Pact Secretariat and the European Commission congratulated UNMIK to its impressive progress in integrating Kosovo into the regional free trade network. The Stability Pact trade Working Group continues to work on the creation of a single free trade area for the whole region by the end of 2006, which will be based of an enlargement of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (present members are Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania).