The European Commission has adopted a set of proposals for a greater trade between the EU and 20 neighboring countries, among which are Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania and North Macedonia, to the end of a quicker recovery from the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, as reported by Radio slobodna Evropa (Radio Free Europe).
– We need to do everything we can to facilitate trade and economic activity between the EU and our neighbors in the Euro-Mediterranean area, and to promote regional integration – said European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni.
He emphasized that the changes to the agreement would help countries like Lebanon recover and rebuild themselves, while “at the same time supporting European businesses in accessing new markets”.
Origin of goods as economic nationality of trading goods
The rules concerning the origin of goods are necessary in any trade agreement, because they determine which goods can be subject to preferential treatment.
– The ‘origin' is the ‘economic nationality' of the goods traded – Gentiloni said.
Origin procedures ensure that customs authorities can verify the origin of a good and allow businesses to prove the origin of their goods.
When all the necessary requirements are met, goods with preferential origin are eligible to be imported with lower duty rates, or even a zero rate, depending on the preferential tariff treatment, the EC says in a press release.
The proposals will modernize the EU's preferential trade agreements with 20 Pan-Euro-Mediterranean (PEM) trading partners by making the relevant ‘rules of origin' in those agreements more flexible and business-friendly.
In addition to the Balkans countries, these proposals amend the EU's bilateral agreements with the following countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Faroe Islands, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.
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