Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Rasim Ljajic stated on Friday, August 11,2017, that it was a great pity that Serbia was not a part of the World Trade Organization (WTO), as the mechanism of solving disputes in the organization was more efficient even that the one in the EU.
Ljajic explained that there were two reasons Serbia was not a WTO member.
The first one is that Serbia still strictly forbids the traffic of GMO products.
According to the WTO, Serbia may use its laws to limit the production, but not the traffic of GMO products, the minister explains, but also adds that the traffic can practically be prohibited with the help of bylaws.
– There’s no reason to be alarmed. It would not be prohibited de jure, but it would be de facto. We want our country to join the WTO, not to enable something that has been forbidden so far. In practice, nothing would change – Ljajic says.
The other reason are bilateral negotiations with WTO members and questions that remain open with four countries.
– The United States are ready to give up on the requests regarding meat if we solve the GMO issue. Brazil, with which there’s an issue about poultry quotas, is asking for 500 tons, whereas we’ve given them 50. Ukraine is a serious problem, and will be harder to solve, the EU has taken our side. Russia is now also making requests related to steel and automobiles. There’s a free trade agreement with Russia, but the agreement will no longer be valid once we’ve joined the EU, and Russia is looking to protect itself accordingly – the minister explained.
Ljajic also notes that, when it joined the WTO three years ago, Russia celebrated all night long in Geneva, as they were aware of what it meant.