Wednesday, September 5, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 5,2007) – The Bosnian State Parliament will debate the ratification of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) today. When Bosnia negotiated and signed CEFTA in December 2006, it showed its commitment to economic development and regional cooperation in the Southeastern Europe.

The Parliament must now honour this commitment and ratify the Agreement.The Bosnian State Parliament has already postponed its ratification twice. Any further delay would undermine the credibility of Bosnia as an international trade partner,the office of the international community's high representative in Bosnia (OHR) stated.

That would leave Bosnia on the sidelines on 28 September when Ministers gather in Ohrid for the First Ministerial Meeting of the Joint Committee of CEFTA,OHR said.

CEFTA will boost trade and attract investments; it simplifies trade among the countries of region and provides its members with a clear framework for the development of domestic industries. It implements common rules on antidumping, safeguards and provides an efficient arbitration system in case of disputes.

Bosnian farmers have been vocal about their concerns and deserve more attention from the Bosnian government and the Bosnian Parliament. However, delaying the CEFTA ratification will not help farmers to increase their competitiveness,OHR said.

A first concrete step to help farmers is the adoption of the Agricultural Law, which is currently before the Bosnian State Parliament.Failure by Parliament to ratify CEFTA would also further delay the development of a functioning market economy, which is a key requirement for European integration.

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