The EFTA States signed a Free Trade Agreement with Serbia in Geneva, Switzerland, on 17 December 2009. The Agreement entered into force on 1 October 2010 for Serbia, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, 1 June 2011 for Norway and 1 October for Iceland.
The main focus of the Free Trade Agreement is the liberalisation of trade in goods. EFTA has abolished all customs duties on Serbian industrial products, including fish and other marine products, as of the entry into force of the Agreement. Serbia has gradually dismantled its customs duties for imports of industrial products from the EFTA States. Additional agricultural agreements between the individual EFTA States (Iceland, Norway and Switzerland) and Serbia form an integral part of the instruments establishing the free trade area.
The Agreement consists of a total of 55 Articles, seven Annexes and two Protocols. The Agreement covers the following main subjects:
- Trade in Goods
- Rules of Origin
- Trade Facilitation
- Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS)
- Trade Remedies
- Trade in Services
- Protection of Intellectual Property (IPR)
- Government Procurement
- Trade and Sustainable Development
- Institutional Provisions
- Dispute Settlement
Trade in Goods
Industrial Goods and Fish and marine products
With the entry into force of the Agreement, EFTA has abolished all customs duties on imports of industrial products, including fish and other marine products, originating in Serbia. Serbia has gradually dismantled its customs duties on such products originating in the EFTA States by 2014 (industrial products: Annex III; fish and other marine products: Annex II). This regime ensures equal treatment of imports into Serbia from the EU and the EFTA States.
The Agreement also provides for tariff concessions on processed agricultural products (Protocol A). Trade in basic agricultural products is covered by three bilateral agricultural agreements between the respective EFTA State (Iceland, Norway and Switzerland) and Serbia. These agreements provide for substantial concessions on both sides, while taking into account the respective sensitivities of the Parties.
Rules of Origin
The rules of origin and the methods of administrative co-operation set out in Protocol B, and its seven Appendices, are based on the Pan-Euro-Mediterranean model text. This will allow for cumulation of materials originating in the EFTA States, Serbia and the other “Pan-Euro-Med” member countries once the respective agreements are in place between those countries and Serbia.
The Agreement contains detailed provisions on trade facilitation (Annex IV).
Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS)
Sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical regulations are dealt with in Chapter 2 and refer to WTO law.
The Agreement includes provisions on state trading enterprises, subsidies, anti-dumping, and anticompetitive practices affecting the trade relations between the Parties as well as disciplines on safeguard measures.
Trade in Services
Regarding services, the Agreement refers to the GATS, containing in particular a “most favoured nation” provision and a review clause in accordance with GATS (Article 26).
The provisions on investment (Article 25) mainly refers to investment promotion and contains a review clause (5 years). The Agreement also ensures the free transfer of payments for current transactions and capital movements, subject to a provision on balance of payment difficulties, which is based on the respective WTO provisions (Chapter 5).
Protection of Intellectual Property (IPR)
The provisions on protection of intellectual property rights (Chapter 3 and Annex VI) cover inter alia, patents, trademarks, copyrights and geographical indications. They are based on the WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and provide for a high level of protection, taking into account the principles of most favoured nation treatment and of national treatment.
The Agreement also includes a provision on public procurement aiming in particular at ensuring transparency and avoiding discrimination (Article 27).
Trade and Sustainable Development
The Parties recognise that economic development, social development and environmental protection are interdependent. In Chapter 6, they reaffirm their commitment to multilateral environmental and labour agreements and principles and undertake to uphold their levels of protection. Arbitration procedures do not apply to this Chapter.
In Chapter 6, the Agreement establishes a Joint Committee, which supervises and administers the Agreement and oversees its further development. The Joint Committee may take decisions in cases provided for by the Agreement and make recommendations in other matters.
Chapter 7 contains rules and procedures for the settlement of disputes arising under the Agreement between one or more of the EFTA States and Serbia.
|Table of Contents|
|EFTA-Serbia Free Trade Agreement|
signed on 20 May 2015 (eif 1 February 2017)
Annexes, Protocols and Declaration
|Trade in Goods||Annex I||Excluded Products|
|Annex II||Fish and Other Marine Products|
|Annex III||Tariff Dismantling||Table A|
|Annex IV||Trade Facilitation|
|Annex V||Mandate of the Sub-Committee on Rules of Origin, Customs Procedures and Trade Facilitation|
|Protocol A||Processed Agricultural Products|
|Protocol B||Concept of "Originating Products" and Methods of Administrative Co-operation||Appendix A||Alternative Applicable Rules of Origin|
|IPR||Annex VI||Protection of Intellectual Property|
|Horizontal Issues||Annex VII||Regarding Transitional Rules covering certain Articles of the Free Trade Agreement between the EFTA States and the Republic of Serbia|
|Other||Declaration by Norway on Investment|
|Decision||Subject||Adopted||Entry into force|
|No. 1/2012||Rules of Procedure||25.10.2012||25.10.2012|
|No. 1/2018||Amending Protocol B||19.06.2018||01.01.2020|
|No. 2/2018||Amending Annex IV||19.06.2018||01.07.2021|
|No. 1/2021||Amending Protocol B||28.05.2021||01.01.2022|
For EFTA-Serbia trade statistics, see EFTA Trade Statistics Tool