Union spokesman Peter Stano said Serbia should suspend its free trade agreement with the European Union (EU) before joining the European Union.
“Serbia must withdraw from all bilateral free trade agreements by the time it approaches the EU.” Stano said in a written statement for Radio Free Europe.
Stano confirmed that Serbia had informed the EU about the signing of a free trade agreement with the EAE, which would take effect tomorrow, and that Serbia could conclude agreements with other countries and organizations until it joins the EU.
“This is not a new condition, but a general rule that applies to all candidate countries seeking to join the EU,” Stano said.
He noted that the Serbian government recognized European integration as a strategic priority, adding that it “signifies progressive compliance with the EU’s foreign and security policy.”
“We expect Serbia to act on that obligation,” Stano said.
The Free Trade Agreement between Serbia and the UAE refers to the duty-free import and export of goods from Serbia to Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.
Section 30 of the Agreement provides that the Agreement may be terminated indefinitely, but that each party may terminate the Agreement by notifying the other party of his or her intention to withdraw from the Agreement. The contract officially expires seven months after the other party is notified.
Prior to signing the free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union, Serbia had bilateral agreements with three of the five members of the alliance, with Russia since 2000, Belarus since 2009 and Kazakhstan since 2010. Serbia has no free trade agreement with the remaining two members, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. Serbia’s bilateral agreements with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will not automatically be valid tomorrow as the free trade agreement with the EA comes into force.
The European Union was Serbia’s largest foreign trade partner by 2020
According to data from Serbia’s Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, Serbia’s total trade with the five EAU member states in 2020 accounted for six percent of Serbia’s total trade with the world.
Among the EAU countries, Serbia achieved the largest trade transaction with Russia in 2020. With $ 2.4 billion, trade between Serbia and Russia accounts for 91% of the total trade between Serbia and the UAE.
By 2020, the European Union was Serbia’s largest foreign trade partner. According to competent ministry data, the RFE estimates that total trade between Serbia and the European Union accounted for 61.4 percent of total trade between Serbia and the world.