The overall objective of the Stability Pact in the trade sector was to liberalise and facilitate trade in the region as a contribution to overall economic growth in South Eastern Europe. Thus it was one part of a greater effort that includes investment promotion and generation, infrastructure development and social cohesion.
The Stability Pact’s Working Group on Trade, which was established in 2000 provided a forum for the development and implementation of a regional strategy for trade liberalisation in South Eastern Europe. The Group brought together senior trade policy officials from all South Eastern European countries/territories, international organisations (European Commission’s Trade Directorate, World Trade Organisation, World Bank) and interested bilateral governments (Germany, Hungary, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UK and USA). It is currently chaired by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and it was supported by the SP Secretariat. During its existence it was chaired by Senior Officials from Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Over its seven-year history, the Group’s strategy evolved from that of developing a network of harmonised bilateral agreements to the creation of a single free trade agreement. This was achieved through the simultaneous enlargement and amendment of the Central European Free Trade Agreement, now known as CEFTA 2006 following its signing in Bucharest in December 2006.
In line with other Stability Pact initiatives, the Trade Working Group handed over responsibility for the on-going development and implementation of regional trade policy to the countries and territories of South Eastern Europe. The entry into force of CEFTA 2006 in July 2007 and the gradual establishment of CEFTA support structures allowed the Group to complete this hand over by the end of May 2008.
For further information,
Regional Cooperation Council
Trg Bosne i Hercegovine 1 / V
Bosna i Hercegovina
Phone +387 33 561 700
Fax +387 33 561 701