A regional meeting of NTFCs in CEFTA was hosted by the World Bank Group and USAID REG Project in Vienna on November 6 and 7, 2018 with representatives of all CEFTA parties being represented and making presentations on the development of their NTFCs. Representatives of the CEFTA Secretariat, WBG, USAID, WTO, EU Commission and Sweden made presentations and took part in the discussions.
Representatives of the NTFCs from all seven CEFTA economies made presentations on the structure and processes of their NTFCs. While there are differing approaches in place, all have a focus on effective enhancement of understanding and dialogue between the business community and government agencies engaged in the international trade process. The need for each NTFC and its working groups to have a practical focus and develop a reputation for resolving cross border trade related problems was a high priority for their long-term credibility within the business community. The need to develop dialogue between NTFCs, both bilaterally and regionally, was recognized.
Representatives of Serbian NTFC, Tatjana Dinkic and Snezana Karanovic, chairs of the expert groups, presented latest information on the functioning of the Serbian NTFCs along with the establishment of the expert working groups, adoption of the Action plans for each of the group, participation of the private sector and business community in the preparation and implementation of the Action plans for 2018 and 2019. Also the positive examples of the elimination of non-tariff barriers in trade with Bosnia and Hercegovina and Macedonia was presented.
An example of the beneficial effects of bilateral dialogue and collaboration, was outlined by the representatives of Serbia and Macedonia who anticipate the full operation of their first joint border post controls for passengers and for cargo in the coming year.
The meeting concluded with a brief overview of the discussions and the way forward, placing emphasis on the need to continue the development and effectiveness of the NTFCs as a core mechanism for dialogue between business and government at both national and regional levels. The need to ensure appropriate political support and resources for NTFCs was also outlined especially, as they offered primary routes for ensuring effective implementation of international commitments under AP5, the TFA and EU alignment.