Timeline: 2003 – Present
Donor: Switzerland (SECO)
Serbia started its independent process of accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2005, having spent four years negotiating accession in a joint bid with Montenegro as a part of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro (formerly Federal Republic of Yugoslavia).
IDEAS Centre started to assist Serbia’s Government during the first stage of the project, which took place between 2003 to 2004 and covered both Serbia and Montenegro. The second stage was implemented from 2005 to 2009, after the split of the State Union between Serbia and Montenegro. The third stage started in October 2009 and was extended till June 2014. Phase IV of the project started in November 2015 and will finish in November 2019. This last phase aims at assisting Serbia in both the finishing stages of the accession process and in the post-accession period.
Overall goal and content
The four successive project phases aim at helping Serbia to re-integrate into the multilateral trading system by becoming a member of the WTO following coherent approach between its development needs and negotiating strategy. The project objectives are to coach Serbian trade experts to identify and carry out the necessary steps to advance the accession process and to contribute to the development of trade policy decision-making and negotiating capacity through general and specific trade policy advice. The assistance provided under the different phases has always been targeted at areas where the Serbian Government requested specific inputs in regard to the accession process. The project also aims at raising awareness with stakeholders in Serbia on the importance and benefits of the WTO accession as well as to put in place mechanisms which would enable Serbia to respect obligations stemming from the WTO accession.
“The assistance provided under the different phases has always been targeted at areas where the Serbian Government requested specific inputs in regard to the accession process.”
Trade policy advice and support are provided through:
- Technical assistance to the Government in advancing bilateral and multilateral negotiations within the WTO accession process;
- Policy advice and comments on specific issues identified to advance the negotiation process;
- Exchange of information and interactions with the WTO Secretariat, missions in Geneva as well as donors;
- Working with the government on finding ways to meet implementation-related obligations of Serbia and to establish an efficient institutional set-up dealing with these obligations;
- Awareness-raising campaigns in Serbia with public and private stakeholders;
- Training of capital-based experts in Geneva.