Mr Ljajić: Government has fulfilled another obligation for accessing the WTO

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade, Tourism, and Telecommunications Rasim Ljajić as said today that Serbian Government has fulfilled another obligation for accessing to the WTO, which refers to establishing the National Coordination Bod for smoother trade.

In the conference “Public-private dialogue for smoother trade”, organised by the American Chamber of Commerce, he added that in this process there is an obstacle regarding the GMO food, which is, as he believes, possible to overcome.

Mr Ljajić: Government has fulfilled another obligation for accessing the WTO

Serbia deserves to be part of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), says Minister, without stating the precise time period of that happening, since our law still has the ban of trade in genetically modified food.

Mr Ljajić has said that the obstacle regarding the GMO could be overcome through an amendment to the law, but also with the introduction of rigorous rules.

“It is not a fraud, many countries have chosen this way. We believe we could do it”, says Mr Ljajić, stating that the citizens would not have reasons to be scared if the law on trade in GMO changes, since there are mechanism in the law to protect ourselves.

Mr Ljajić reminds that there is a strong resistance of the public regarding the GMO, and there is a request to change the law as a precondition to accessing the WTO.

He says that there is a huge damage for Serbia as still not being a member of the WTO, since only 13 countries outside of any agreements and membership.

Speaking of forming the National Coordination Body for smoother trade, Mr Ljajić says that around 60 countries in the world have formed that body so far, with the aim of having the issues regarding import and export of good tacked at one place.

Mr Ljajić: Government has fulfilled another obligation for accessing the WTO

That body, according to his words, is consisted of 12 different institutions, including ministries, inspection, and customs services.

He believes that the Coordination Body will reduce the logistics costs in the foreign trade, stating that they amount to 16 per cent of the GDB in the region, while it is twice as low in the European Union.

“It will quite certainly contribute to the creation of a common economic area in the countries of the Western Balkans”, says the minister.

He presented the data that in one day of delay at border crossings the export value of the goods is reduced by one per cent, while in food and agricultural products that reduction is even seven per cent.

Stating that the issues have been identified, Mr Ljajić has stated that some of them Serbia is going to tackle alone, some of them together with the countries in the region, while some issues regarding the non-tariff barriers will be resolved within the CEFTA, EU or bilaterally.