Joint Statement of the European Commission and Bosnia and Herzegovina

On 20 and 21 March 2012 in Sarajevo, the representatives of the European Commission and Bosnia and Herzegovina institutions held the fourth meeting of Interim Sub-Committee for Trade, Industry, Customs and Taxation and Cooperation with other Candidate Countries. Discussion was held about the level of fulfilment of BiH obligations in the area of free movement of goods, industrial policy, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), taxes, customs and trade.

Both parties agreed that the overall implementation of the Interim Agreement on Trade and Trade Related Matters was good and that it was very important to ensure its proper implementation in the future. A positive track record on trade related matters will be crucial in the light of the Commission’s assessment to be made, once BiH submits a membership application.

General recommendations of the European Commission and the meeting’s conclusions are as follows:

Some progress has been recorded in approximation of the BiH legislation with the EU legislation in the area of free movement of goods. Further efforts are needed in order to increase the competitiveness of BiH industrial products. Development and adoption of the Quality Infrastructure Strategy, as well as improved coordination of the institutions in order to create conditions for development of private entrepreneurship are recommended. Progress can also be reported in the field of industrial policy. In the area of development of small and medium-sized enterprises, it is necessary to draft and adopt the lacking legislative framework, and to improve coordination in this area. The Commission has asked BiH to make more efforts in the transposition of EU policy and standards for SMEs; this would be in particular to the benefit of the mikro and small entrepreneurs in the field of crafts in BiH.  

Certain progress in the area of the approximation of the legislation related to customs duties has been achieved. European Commission welcomed the fact that the number of bilateral agreements on the avoidance of the „double taxation“ has increased, as well as the simplification of export and transit procedures since BiH  entered ATA Carnet and TIR system. This should enable the country to participate more in the EU markets in sectors with high economic importance for BiH, such as wood and furniture and metal products. A common conclusion was reached that the level of trade between BiH and the EU increased, which proved that the implementation of the Interim Agreement was good. The European Commission reiterated the urgent need to amend certain parts of legal acts, which EC assessed as a protectionist measuresIn this framework, the Commission welcomed that discriminatory legislation of BiH regarding the import of beer from the EU was waived.

It was noted that the CEFTA Agreement was functioning well and the European Commission would continue supporting BiH in meeting conditions for the membership of the World Trade Organization. The European Commission took note of the good cooperation between BiH and other countries of the Stabilization and Association Process and candidate countries.