The conference “Trade Facilitation Conference: Progress Report” was held in Belgrade on March 20, 2019 and it was organized jointly by the American Chamber of Commerce in Serbia and the USAID REG Trade Facilitation Project, in cooperation with the National Coordinating Body for Trade Facilitation (NTFC). The introductory remarks were made by the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Chamber of Commerce in Serbia, Jelena Pavlović, State Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management Željko Radošević and his Excellency, the Ambassador of the United States of America, Kyle Scott.
At the plenary session of the conference, on behalf of the NTFC Secretariat, Tatjana Dinkić presented the work and results achieved to facilitate trade in the previous period, with a special emphasis on removing the barriers in the region:
- Working hours for phytosanitary inspections on both sides of the border with North Macedonia have been coordinated, and a problem which had stopped the export of flour has been solved.
- With Bosnia and Herzegovina, it was agreed to recognize test reports for industrial, non-food products by accredited laboratories, and problems related to sugar import and the application of food declarations have been solved.
Snežana Karanović, Assistant Minister of Finance and Chair of the NTFC expert working group for customs procedures presented the results in the area of facilitating customs and other procedures, as well as in accelerating customs clearance of express shipments since October 2018, which implies electronic submission of the declaration and risk analysis before arrival of shipments.
In parallel panels led by Milanka Davidović, chair of the NTFC expert working groups for agriculture, sanitary and phytosanitary measures and Zoran Bakić, chair of the NTFC expert working group for technical barriers to trade and equivalent measures, the results within these areas were presented and discussed.
Regarding the plans for the coming period, it was pointed out that work on the closer definition of efficient procedures for the import of perishable goods is ongoing, as well as the introduction of an electronic submission of a request for a obligatory notification of the origin of goods.
Moreover, the preconditions for further elimination of non-tariff barriers on the way to more efficient foreign trade in food, chemical and cosmetic products were also discussed at the conference, as well as the next steps towards improving regional cooperation and the implementation of the CEFTA agreement.
The conference was attended by a significant number of representatives from various competent authorities in the field of foreign trade as well as representatives from private sector, continuing the systematic public-private dialogue on this topic.