Kosovo in CEFTA

Prishtinë, Sept 22, 2006 – Last week CEFTA countries have come to the joint agreement of including Kosovo, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Moldavia and Montenegro in a cooperation agreement for trade.

CEFTA countries have agreed that several of the bilateral trade issues will be solved before the last round of meetings that are set to take place on the 19th and 20th of October in Brussels.

During the third round of negotiations held last week in Brussels, representatives of Macedonia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo were due to hammer out the draft-agreement, envisaged to replace the existing 31 bilateral free trade agreement concluded among those countries.

The new wave of expansion of CEFTA is expected to also include some fresh aspects, such are services exchange, public procurement and intellectual property rights.

For the time being, CEFTA members include Macedonia, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania. However, Bulgaria and Romania will automatically exit CEFTA as soon as they become fully-fledged EU members, which is likely to take place on 1 January 2007. Kosovo, Serbia, BiH, Albania, Montenegro and Moldova are expected to join CEFTA by the end of 2006.

CEFTA was established in 1992. Its former members include the countries that entered EU in 2004.