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Bosnia Agrees WTO Tariff Commitments With The EU

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

25 December 2012

The European Union (EU) and Bosnia and Herzegovina have completed bilateral negotiations on specific tariff and non-tariff measures for inclusion in the nation's Protocol of Accession, a list of commitments the territory will make in return for membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The signing of the deal took place at an event on December 19, 2012, attended by EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Bosnia and Herzegovnia's Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, Mirko Sarovic.

The EU remarked that the conclusion of the agreement is a key milestone on "Bosnia and Herzegovina's path to becoming a member of the international trade body."

"Accession to the WTO is expected to make a lasting contribution to the process of economic reform and sustainable development in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The bilateral deal provides for the lowering of tariffs for trade in goods and for the opening of services markets upon accession," it stated.

The EU is Bosnia and Herzegovina's main trading partner, accounting for almost 73% of its exports and more than half of its imports. In 2011 the total value of EU goods exported to Bosnia and Herzegovina was EUR3.5bn, whereas imports from Bosnia and Herzegovina amounted to EUR2.4bn. Machinery and transport equipment, chemicals and manufactured products are the most traded products.

“Today's signature is a milestone in Bosnia and Herzegovina's WTO accession process and an important step towards fostering our economic relations", commented EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht. "The EU strongly supports the WTO accession of our neighbours. We believe that Bosnia and Herzegovina has made remarkable progress in preparing for WTO entry and hope to welcome them into the WTO family very soon".

Sarovic added: "Bosnia and Herzegovina is committed to becoming an active member of the multilateral trading system and has invested serious efforts in this respect. The inestimable support provided by the EU is delivering positive results. Today’s event represents a step closer to our final common goal and we are confident that it will help in finishing the rest of the bilateral negotiations in the WTO in the months to come. If we find the same constructive attitude with other partners, we could become WTO members in 2013."

Bosnia and Herzegovina applied for WTO membership on May 11, 1999. The WTO Working Party on its accession was established on July 15, 1999. Among requirements to join the WTO, Bosnia and Herzegovina must complete bilateral negotiations with interested WTO members on the inclusion of additional tariff and market access provisions in its accession package on request for application on a membership-wide basis.

TAGS: tax | Bosnia and Herzegovina | export duty | interest | law | accounting | tariffs | World Trade Organisation (WTO) | tax rates | import duty | trade | European Union (EU) | services | Europe

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