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Western Balkans | Brussels, 21 December 2020

EU extends trade preferences for the Western Balkans for 5 more years

The European Union has extended its existing trade preferences to the Western Balkans for another five years until 31 December 2025. This will provide more opportunities for exporting to the EU, especially for farmers in the region with smaller holdings.

Published today, the new Regulation extends the trade preferences which are in the form of Autonomous Trade Measures (ATMs) and which suspend the customs duties normally applied to fruit and vegetables exported to the EU. The ATMS also include an additional wine quota. They have been in place since 2000.

The measures provide valuable support to the regional economy beyond the bilateral free trade agreements with the Western Balkans, which form part of the Stabilisation and Association Agreements signed with each country in the region. The measures represent nearly €24 million in duties saved and will be particularly helpful for smaller farmers.

The EU is the leading trade partner for each country in the Western Balkans, accounting for almost 70% of the region's total trade. Trade with the region has grown by almost 130% over the past 10 years, with the total trade between the EU and the Western Balkans reaching €55 billion in 2019. Trade plays an important role in the EU's efforts to promote peace, stability, freedom and economic prosperity in the Western Balkans.

The Regulation will come into force on 1 January 2021, ensuring a smooth transition from the current ATM regime for exporters and importers.

More information

The Regulation
More on the Western Balkans