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Serbia Takes Over Presidency of CEFTA for 2024

On 1st January Serbia assumed the one-year presidency of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA). 

As announced by the Government, Serbia’s priorities during its 2024 CEFTA presidency will include consolidating and strengthening the implementation of the agreement, facilitating trade in goods and services among CEFTA parties, and advancing digitalization.

Key focus areas will involve piloting joint customs actions, data exchange, working towards mutual recognition of Authorized Economic Operator programs among CEFTA parties, e-commerce, and easing the movement of fruits and vegetables.

Additionally, priorities include reducing trade costs and border waiting times, working on the recognition of professional qualifications, and finalizing the text of a new additional CEFTA protocol on dispute resolution.

For Serbia, participation in the CEFTA, which is based on European Union standards and principles, means improved market access for products and services, reduced trade barriers, and easier business operations at the regional level.

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The CEFTA market is Serbia’s second-largest trading partner in terms of trade volume, export, and import, following the EU.

In the first 11 months of 2023, Serbia had a trade exchange of over 5.5 billion euros with CEFTA parties.

In this exchange, Serbia achieved a trade surplus of more than 2.5 billion euros, mainly due to exports of electricity, grains and their products, oil and oil derivatives, beverages, and road vehicles, with an export-to-import coverage ratio of 260.6%.

CEFTA is a trade agreement between Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, and the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

Former members include Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, and Croatia, all of which have become members of the European Union.

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