FREE MOVEMENT OF GOODS UNDER SAAs AND CEFTA

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zastava_srbija Sloboda prometa robe prema Sporazumu o stabilizacij i pridruživanju i CEFTA

Lecturer: Assistant Professor Marko Jovanović (University of Belgrade)
Hours of lectures: 8

The course will start off with the examination of the key notions of free trade arrangements, namely the origin of goods and their classification. The principles for determining the origin of goods contained in Article 23 of the EU Customs Code are relevant for determining the origin of goods in the context of free trade agreements that bind SEE countries. As far as the issue of classification is concerned, due regard shall be given to the Combined Nomenclature, as both Article 2 of the CEFTA Agreement and Article 18 of the SAA refer to that instrument for the purposes of classification. In view of better understanding the rules of determination of origin of goods and their classification it will be useful to analyse the relevant case law and get a more clear insight into the interpretation of the aforementioned provisions.

Both CEFTA and SAA forbid the introduction of any new quantitative restrictions on imports and exports, measures having equivalent effect and measures having equivalent effect as customs, and request the abolishment of the existing ones. The part of the course dealing with those restrictions on trade in goods will therefore first have to focus on the definition of the aforementioned notions and show their most characteristic forms. To that effect, a particular attention shall be given to the analysis of the rulings of the CJEU and the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organizations, as the jurisprudence of these forums contains a rich display of possible forms quantitative restrictions, measures having equivalent effect and measures having equivalent effect as customs.

One of the important concerns of both SAA and CEFTA is to ensure fair trade within the respective free trade areas that these agreements establish. It is therefore no wonder that both agreements contain provisions on anti-dumping and safeguard measures. The rules on anti-dumping govern the procedure for imposing measures which are meant to offset the price discrimination created by the importation of products at a dumped price and eliminate the negative effects that the dumping had or might have had caused to the domestic industry. The rules on safeguard measures govern the actions that a country may take in order to protect a specific domestic industry from an increase in imports of any products which is causing, or which is threatening to cause serious injury to the industry.

Another important element of free trade agreements in SEE are the rules governing the technical barriers to trade. The legal regime of these barriers under CEFTA is generally equal to the one established by the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade. Thus, the parties to CEFTA are required to identify and eliminate unnecessary technical barriers to trade as specified by the aforementioned WTO agreement. What is more, a joint committee is established to oversee the process of elimination of these barriers. In order to provide a clear picture of the legal treatment of technical barriers to trade, it will yet again be necessary to resort to the case law of the WTO Dispute Settlement Body, as the legal interpretations and principles established by that forum are highly relevant in the context of free trade areas in SEE.

In the same way as it is the case with technical barriers to trade, CEFTA refers to the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures when defining the rights and obligations of the parties with respect to that type of restrictions to free trade. The parties are required to cooperate in the field of sanitary and phytosanitary measures, including veterinary matters, with the aim of applying relevant regulations in a non-discriminatory manner. What is more, the parties are invited, where appropriate, to enter into negotiations in order to conclude agreements on harmonization or mutual recognition in these matters in accordance with the relevant provisions of the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and other relevant international agreements. Seeing that the methodology of regulating the regime of sanitary and phytosanitary measures is the same as the methodology of regulating technical barriers to trade, these matters shall be didactically treated pursuant to the same pattern.

Finally, the agreements on free trade in SEE contain specific rules on trade in agricultural products, so a particular section of the course shall be dedicated to their study. In order to explain the reasons for somewhat special treatment of trade in agricultural products, it will be necessary to analyse that matter in a wider context, putting a special emphasis on the rules in the EU and WTO.