The Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), an international trade agreement between countries mostly located in Southeastern Europe, adopted on Tuesday the Western Balkan's Declaration on Common Market the regional countries signed earlier in the day during the online Summit in Sofia.
CEFTA's statement said the Declaration on the Action Plan covered the regional trade area, based on the four freedoms and the areas like digitalisation, innovation, investment and industry development.
It added that it was agreed that such cooperation would contribute to greater attractiveness and competitiveness of the region, as well as to its approaching the European Union market.
The statement said the CEFTA agreement would implement a large number of critical activities of the Declaration.
It added the Western Balkans region with 18 million-strong population was an important market for all companies in the area and a springboard for access to markets inside and outside the EU, and that regional economic integration could generate up to 6.7 percent of additional GDP.
The statement said CEFTA would contribute to the implementation of the Action Plan in reducing waiting times at crossings by 30 percent following the implementation of a set of measure including the extension of the Green Corridor System to EU border crossings and simplifying procedures and electronic data exchange through the so-called SEED + system.
That will also enable the 24/ 7 inspection services at the crossings within the Green Corridors, reduce costs and save time through Mutual Recognition Programs, using a single document for seven markets.
The establishment of a regional e-commerce market available primarily to small and medium enterprises, and the elimination of non-tariff barriers through the implementation of an efficient dispute resolution system, negotiated two weeks ago, will also contribute to more straightforward trade.
"The common market of 18 million people is more competitive at the European and world level, more attractive for investors. Establishing the Common Regional Market is also supporting the region in the process of adopting the EU standards and joining the EU single market," CEFTA Secretariat Director Emir Djikic said.