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Romania to withdraw from free trade agreements

Bucharest Daily News | 9 May 2006

Winkler: Romania to withdraw from free trade agreements

Ileana Boboc

Minister Delegate for Commerce Iuliu Winkler said Friday that following EU accession, Romania would gradually withdraw from all free trade agreements.

Minister Winkler added that Romania’s EU accession would also mean its adhesion to a new legal framework for external commercial relations.

"Romania has completed, in addition to the European Agreement and the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), free trade agreements with the Republic of Moldova, Turkey, Israel, Serbia-Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). When Romania joins the EU, we will withdraw from these agreements," said Iuliu Winkler. According to the official, Romania’s trade exchanges are mostly operated within the free trade agreements.

"Approximately 84 percent of Romanian exports and 70.56 percent of imports in 2005 were operated under this juridical framework. As to the weight of the Romanian commercial exchanges within these agreements in 2005, the first-ranked partner is the EU (67.6 percent of exports and 62.2 percent of imports), followed by Turkey (with 7.92 percent of exports and 4.86 percent of imports)," according to Winkler.

Following EU accession, Romania will implement the EU juridical framework.

Therefore, Romania will conclude agreements with Mediterranean countries, Mexico, Chile, South Africa, sign the stabilization and association agreements with western Balkan states and the non-preferential agreements with third parties.

The Central European Free Trade Agreement was signed on December 21, 1992 in Krakow, Poland. All the parties had previously signed association agreements with the EU, which is why CEFTA functions as a preparation for full EU membership. CEFTA’s members are Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania and Bulgaria. The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is an intergovernmental organization promoting free trade and strengthening economic relations. EFTA’s member states are Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The EFTA Secretariat is headquartered in Geneva, with an office in Brussels, and a statistical office in Luxembourg.

 source: Bucharest Daily News