BiH without a chance to become a member of the WTO for 22 years now
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is not yet a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), although the procedure started in 1999, and as it stands, this will not happen during the WTO ministerial conference to be held in Kazakhstan at the end of the year.
Currently, the admission of BiH to the WTO is blocked by Russia and the United States (US). In addition to a few tariff lines for industrial and agricultural products, Russia is conditioning BiH by adopting a decision on the quality of liquid petroleum fuels, on which there is currently no minimum agreement between the relevant ministries of the Federation of BiH (FBiH) and the Republika Srpska (RS). This decision is expected to be adopted by the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but given the blockade, this will almost certainly not happen.
For the United States, BiH is required to allow a foreign legal or natural person that is not a BiH resident company to release goods for free circulation as a declarant. This issue has already been partially resolved, given that BiH has implemented European Union (EU) directives in this case, but bilateral negotiations are not yet complete.
“There was a problem with Brazil, but we solved it. How far we’ve come so far, I’m not sure exactly, but joining the WTO would mean a lot to us. As a member of the WTO, Serbia or Croatia could not blackmail us with a few small things, just as some could not ban the import of certain goods ”, said Nemanja Vasic, vice-president of the Chamber of Foreign Trade of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
He stressed that membership in the WTO is useful for contacts, but also access to certain markets since there are well-established procedures within the WTO in which cooperation is carried out.
Namely, BiH is one of the few countries in the world that is not a member of the WTO, along with Eritrea, South Sudan and some other countries. As far as Serbia is concerned, most of the work for WTO membership has been completed, but the issue of GMOs is still unresolved, as Serbia passed a law in 2009 that completely bans the trade in such GMOs. products, and one of the basic principles of the WTO is that there is no blanket ban on any product.
One of the main benefits of WTO membership is that countries enjoy equal market access for around seven billion people. businessmen to export their goods to countries with which BiH does not have regulated trade agreements on favorable terms. The experience of other countries has shown that in just a few years of joining the WTO, exports have increased to a large extent, while reducing the number of economic disputes that arise from time to time between countries.
In BiH, it has been said for years that we are on the verge of joining the WTO. However, as of this writing, it’s not yet finished, and that probably won’t happen this year either. Almost all the authorities, mainly those which managed the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, made WTO membership a priority, but this was never achieved.
“BiH is in the final phase of negotiations for full membership in the WTO,” was announced at the end of 2017 by the Parliament of BiH, when members of the BiH delegation at the time, Ognjen Tadic, Semsudin Mehmedovic and Predrag Kozul traveled to Buenos Aires, Nezavisne writing.